Butler cruised past Michigan in Wednesday's first-round win in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout by living off its deadly three-point shot.
But the No. 22-ranked Bulldogs viciously fought for Friday's 84-78 semifinal victory over Virginia Tech without relying entirely on the long ball.
With 42 seconds left in overtime, Butler's Mike Green finished his drive to the hoop with a pretty left-handed layup then canned 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch to stop the upset-minded Hokies and dazzle the announced crowd of 8,469 fans at Sullivan Arena.
"Those were two hard-nose teams fighting for the basket," Butler coach Brad Stevens. "It was an honor to be a part of it. We have the utmost respect for Virginia Tech because they play the right way."
Butler (5-0), meanwhile, played the long-distance way much of the night to advance into tonight's Shootout championship.
Senior Pete Campbell sank 7 of 13 three-point shots for a game-high 26 points. One more trey would have tied the 6-foot-7 sniper with Eric Schraeder of St. Mary's for the all-time Shootout record for most three-pointers in a game.
Schraeder drained eight of them in 1998 against Iowa State.
Campbell credited his long-range barrage to the timely passes by Green, who finished with 23 points and five assists. Green's style of driving and dishing confused defenders and often left Campbell open.
"I felt like Mike's penetration opened up a lot of stuff," Campbell said about Butler's 14-of-33 shooting from three-point range.
Though Campbell narrowly missed the record, Butler is on the brink of another Shootout record. The Bulldogs have canned 31 treys in two games, needing only four to break the all-time tournament record (34) set by UC Irvine in 1990.
"The fact that we shot that many threes, you can't expect that every game," Campbell said. "It just so happened in this game."
Jeff Allen, who scored a team-high 21 points for the Hokies (2-1), single-handily helped send his team to overtime. Trailing by as much as nine points in the second half, Virginia Tech got hot and used a 14-5 run midway through the half to trim Butler's lead to two with less than a minute left.
Butler had possession with 34.6 seconds remaining and the Hokies applied a full-court press. Campbell inbounded the ball by throwing a touchdown pass to Green. But Allen deflected the pass and the Hokies gained possession.
Allen finished with a bucket to tie the game 66-66 with 14.6 seconds to go. He was fouled on the play and his free throw would have given the Hokies a lead, but Allen missed and the game went to overtime.
"I think we stepped up to get into overtime," he said. "But things didn't go our way (in overtime)."
He would have liked Butler's three-point game to cool off in the extra five minutes. But Butler continued to drive and dish or shoot behind screens.
"It was hard," Allen said. "You had to run off so many screens. It was confusing."
Senior guard A.J. Graves (17 points) baffled the Hokies as Butler lead 75-70 with 2:05 to go in overtime. The senior charged the hoop then passed to Green near three-point line. Green finished the dish with his first trey of the night and Butler's 31st of the tournament.
Stevens enjoys his team's accurate long-range shooting, but doesn't want it to define Butler's season.
"I'm don't think we want to necessarily live and die off the three," he said. "But I am very comfortable with the way we shoot it because I think that's what they've done their whole lives."
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg was asked whether Butler's long-range accuracy -- the Bulldogs canned eight more three-pointers than the Hokies -- determined the outcome.
"The last time I checked, two plus two plus two equals six, and three plus three plus three equals nine," he said. "I'm not a rocket scientist, and I can't do my daughter's algebra. But I can do that math."
Find Daily News sports reporter Kevin Klott at adn.com/contact/kklottt or 257-4335.
BUTLER (84) -- Betko 3-4 0-1 8; Streicher 2-3 0-0 4; Campbell 9-15 1-2 26; Graves 5-17 3-4 17; Green 8-15 6-7 23; Vanzant 0-2 0-0 0; Hahn 0-1 0-0 0; Veasley 1-1 2-2 4; Howard 0-2 2-2 2. Totals: 28-60 14-18 84.
VIRGINIA TECH (78) -- Allen 10-18 1-2 21; Washington 5-11 3-5 14; Witcher 1-2 0-1 2; Vassallo 7-16 2-2 19; Thorns 3-4 0-0 8; Bell 0-0 0-0 0; Delaney 4-8 0-0 8; Thompson 2-2 2-2 6; Diakite 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 32-61 8-12 78.
Three-point goals -- Butler 14-33 (Betko 2-3, Campbell 7-13, Graves 4-13, Green 1-2, Vanzant 0-1, Hahn 0-1); Virginia Tech 6-12 (Washington 1-1, Vassallo 3-6, Thorns 2-2, Delaney 0-3). Fouled out -- Butler (Streicher, Howard); Virginia Tech (Washington). Rebounds -- Butler 31 (Campbell 5); Virginia Tech 35 (Allen 9). Assists -- Butler 15 (Graves 6); Virginia Tech 13 (Vassallo 4). Total fouls -- Butler 19; Virginia Tech 20. A -- 8,469
Butler 30 38 16 -- 84
Virginia Tech 28 40 10 -- 78
Through Friday's games
49 Courtney Lee, West. Kentucky
44 Pete Campbell, Butler
37Mike Green, Butler
36Alan Voskuil, Texas Tech
34A.J. Graves, Butler
25 Carl Arts, UAA
17 Jeff Allen, Virginia Tech
16Boris Siakan, West. Kentucky
13Ron Coleman, Michigan
13Jeremy Evans, West. Kentucky
13Kellen Williams, E. Washington
13Alan Voskuil, Texas Tech
14Luke Cooper, UAA?
13 Mike Green, Butler
12John Roberson, Texas Tech
10 Manny Harris, Michigan
?9Two are tied
Tyrone Brazelton. W. Kentucky
?8 A.D. Vassallo, Virginia Tech Men's leaders
By KEVIN KLOTT