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.
WASHINGTON — Maurice Joseph is sticking around as George Washington's basketball coach, signing a five-year contract on Monday after one season with an interim title in place of the fired Mike Lonergan.
The Colonials went 20-15 this season under Joseph, losing in the quarterfinals of the lower-tier College Basketball Invitational.
"Maurice has demonstrated that he is the right individual to lead our men's basketball program," athletic director Patrick Nero said, according to a statement released by the school. "Our student-athletes respond well to his energy, passion and vision. ... We're confident that he will continue to recruit and retain the next generation of men's basketball student-athletes and help their talents shine."
Six of GW's top eight scorers this season are expected to return to the team.
The 31-year-old Joseph said it is "a privilege to be tasked with the responsibility of mentoring our team moving forward."
Joseph, who is from Montreal, played for Lonergan at Vermont after transferring there from Michigan State.
After working as an assistant on Lonergan's staff for five years, Joseph was promoted to head coach in late September.
That came 10 days after Lonergan was fired, following an internal investigation by GW that determined he "engaged in conduct inconsistent with the university's values." A Washington Post report in July included accusations of player mistreatment by Lonergan.
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By Ben Brown
Following a disappointing end to a once-promising season, Virginia guard Marial Shayok and forward Jarred Reuter will transfer to another school, head coach Tony Bennett announced Wednesday.
"Marial and Jarred informed me today that they are leaving the Virginia basketball program and are looking to transfer to other schools," Bennett said. "I thank Marial and Jarred for their hard work and contributions to our program, and wish them success in the future."
Shayok was the Cavaliers' second-leading scorer at 8.9 points per game, despite playing only the fifth-most minutes and regularly coming off the bench. The Ontario product scored a career-high 23 points in Virginia's win over UNC-Wilmington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Reuter averaged 10 minutes a game and averaged 3.8 points per game.
Shayok and Reuter transferring comes at the end of a very disappointing season for Virginia. The Cavaliers began the season in the top 10 of the AP poll, and halfway through conference play they were near the top of the standings in the ACC. But that was before the team went into a major funk as they lost four of their last seven games, which dropped them to sixth in the conference standings.
Virginia lost in the second round of the ACC Tournament to Notre Dame, and then got blasted by Florida by 26 points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to the losses of Shayok and Reuter, London Perrantes, the team's best player and leader, is graduating.
After a rough regular season, Virginia's offseason is off to a rocky start as well.
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