Virginia kept alive its hopes of winning the National Invitation Tournament for the second time in six years by defeating St. Joseph's, 68-61, in a second-round game tonight.

The Cavaliers (17-15) will play again on Saturday; pairings will not be made until after Wednesday's three concluding second-round games around the country.

"We had our normal dry spells on offense tonight," said Virginia Coach Terry Holland, "but we played defense well enough to have a chance to win the game. Jimmy Miller finally got hot in the middle, and that gave us a lift in the second half."

Miller provided 14 points and six rebounds, supporting center Olden Polynice's 15 points and eight rebounds. Bob Lojewski led St. Joseph's (20-12) with 21 points.

Virginia took control early in the second half when two technical fouls were assessed Hawks Coach Jim Boyle. With 16:00 to play, Boyle incurred a whistle after his star guard, Maurice Martin, drew his fourth foul. Tim Mullen converted both free throws and Virginia trailed, 37-36.

One minute later, Boyle was called for walking onto the court after Hawks center Rodney Blake got his fourth foul. Mullen hit two from the line; Virginia led, 40-39.

"The four free throws we got off the bench technicals were a big factor in the game," Holland said. "At that point, both teams were still in striking distance of winning the game."

"It was the first time I've been out of the (coaching) box all year," said Boyle. "I didn't even notice it. I was trying to separate the players because I thought there was going to be a fight."

Virginia drew ahead, 54-47, with 8:29 left. A jumper by Geoff Arnold at 1:27 closed St. Joseph's to 63-61. Darrick Simms and Polynice converted one-and-ones to close it out.

The Cavaliers took their first lead just before intermission. Miller scored from in the lane and, a half-minute later, made one and one for a 34-33 margin at the break.