By HANK KURZ Jr., AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Joe Harris scored nine of his 15 points in the opening minutes of the second half Monday night and Virginia rallied to beat Fairfield 54-45 in the NIT Season Tip-off.
Akil Mitchell had 12 points and Evan Nolte added 11 for the Cavaliers (1-1), who will play in the second round Tuesday night.
Josip Mikulic scored 13 points and Derek Needham and Desmond Wade had 10 each for Fairfield (1-1). The Stags scored only 15 points in the second half, making just 5 of 24 shots. In the first half, they were 12 for 23 with six 3-pointers, including three in as many tries by the 7-foot Mikulic.
Harris scored nine of the Cavaliers' first 11 points in the second half, including a 15-foot jumper with 17 minutes left that gave them their first lead at 33-32.
Virginia stretched its margin to 42-37 as the Stags went 5 minutes without a point, but Desmond Wade made a pair of free throws for Fairfield and Colin Nickerson followed several Cavaliers' misses with a layup at the other end, making it a one-point game with 8:45 to go. Fairfield added just two field goals the rest of the way.
Virginia was playing its second game without starting point guard and team captain Jontel Evans and backup point guard Malcolm Brogdon, both of whom are recovering from surgeries. Coach Tony Bennett used several players at the point, but Harris was in charge in the closing moments.
He fed Mitchell for a basket with 4:08 to play that gave Virginia a 51-45 lead, and after neither team scored for more than a minute, Harris' 10-foot jumper stretched the lead to eight and the Cavaliers were never challenged again.
Harvard forward Patrick Steeves, a 3-point shooting threat, has committed to George Washington men's basketball program, a source revealed to CSNmidatlantic.com.
The 6-foot-7 Steeves, a native of Montreal, graduates from Harvard next month. He is eligible immediately at GW and has two years of eligibilty remaining.
Injuries plagued him early in his career with the Ivy League program, but he turned in a solid 2016-17 campaign with averages of 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Steeves shined from long range, sinking 45.8 percent (33 of 72) of his 3-poit attempts.
California, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Richmond were also after Steeves, accorrding to a source.
Steeves joins a massive contingent coming to help for the 2016-17 season. The Colonials lost six players from a team that won 28 games last season and captured the season-ending NIT championship under coach Mike Lonergan.
Former Seton Hall transfer Jared Sina is eligible after sitting out last season. The heady guard and Steeves will help offset the perimeter loss of seniors Patricio Garino, Joe McDonald and Alex Mitola. Guards Paul Jorgensen and Anthony Swan transfered out of the program after the season.
Incoming big man recruit Kevin Marfo headlines a five-player class. The Colonials also lost starting center Kevin Larsen to graduation.
Leading scorer and rebounder Tyler Cavanaugh returns along with fellow starting forward Yuta Watanabe.
CSN's Brian Mitchell, one of the best punt returners in NFL history, is helping former Navy QB Keenan Reynolds to reinvent himself in advance of the 2016 NFL Draft.
While learning to play another position to increase his chances of getting drafted or making a roster, Reynolds showed off his ability to field punts. And he's already pretty good.
Watch the full segment featuring Mitchell, Reynolds, and CSN's Rob Carlin in the video player above.
Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander and defensive end Houshun Gaines have been indefinitely suspended from the football team, the school announced via a release on Tuesday.
Though no reason was given in the release, Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times reported that both players were arrested on Sunday morning for marijuana possession. Gaines was also charged with underage possession/purchase of alcohol.
The chargers are misdemeanors and both players are scheduled to appear in Montgomery County District Court in June.
The arrests came just hours after Virginia Tech's spring game which was played on Saturday. Alexander, a sophomore, started eight games last season as a true freshman and was expected to to be a starter this fall at corner along with Brandon Facyson.
Gaines is a redshirt freshman and registered two sacks on Saturday while playing with the first team defense.