ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)—No. 22 Butler put its outside game on the line against Virginia Tech’s inside game in the semifinals of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Outside game won.
The Bulldogs failed to score in the last three minutes of regulation but pulled away in overtime behind 12 points and a key assist by Mike Green to defeat Virginia Tech 84-78.
Pete Campbell finished with 26 points for the Bulldogs (5-0) and shot 7-for-13 3-pointers. A.J. Graves had 17 points, six assists and two steals.
A.D. Vassallo had 19 points for the Hokies (2-1) and Deron Washington had 14.
Green, who scored just 11 points in regulation, took over in the extra period. He scored the first basket in overtime on a drive in the key, sank two free throws and found Pete Campbell open for a 3-pointer along the baseline.
Green hit his own 3-pointer, went to his left hand for a twisting layup and sank 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch.
The Bulldogs overcame 21 points by Hokie freshman Jeff Allen, who tied the game with 14 seconds left in regulation but missed a free throw that would have given Virginia Tech the lead.
Butler coach Brad Stevens said the Bulldogs had little choice but to go to a small lineup after Allen and other Hokies frontline players got big men Drew Streicher and Matt Howard into foul trouble.
“It’s hard against teams like Virginia Tech and (first-round opponent) Michigan and whoever we play tomorrow to get in and finish and be tough because they’re so long, and they’re so athletic but I thought Mike Green did an unbelievable job getting to the rim, being strong with it,” Stevens said.
Allen, a freshman, was especially tough.
“We’ve got a lot of teams that try to pound the ball inside on us with really good post players,” Stevens said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever been pounded like Allen pounded us tonight, early on.”
Allen shot 10-for-18 and easily could have hit two or three more shots, said Hokies coach Seth Greenberg. He said the game plan against the Bulldogs was simple.
“It was our ability, hopefully, to post the ball and their ability to make threes, and our ability to stop them from making threes,” he said.
The posting up worked but defending the long range shots didn’t.
The Bulldogs shot 14-for-33 treys.
“Last time I checked two plus two plus two equals six and three plus three plus three equals nine,” Greenberg said. “I’m not a rocket scientist but I can do that math.”
Allen scored eight of his team’s first 12 points, muscling past Butler defenders for baseline drives.
Butler countered with pinpoint passing to find shooters at the perimeter. Julian Betko and Campbell each had a pair of 3-pointers to put the Bulldogs up 18-14 midway through the first half.
Graves, who had five assists in the first half, missed his first five shots but his 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining matched Butler’s biggest lead, 30-23. Allen’s putback and a 3-pointer by Hank Thorns—Virginia Tech’s only one of the half—closed the gap to 30-28 at halftime.
Virginia Tech took its only lead of the second half, 33-22, when Vassallo hit a 3-pointer with just under two minutes gone in the second half. Butler retook the lead on Campbell’s 3-pointer with 16:51 remaining and led by as many as nine but couldn’t shake the youthful Hokies.
After Allen tied the game at 68, Graves missed a shot at the buzzer. Green was ready in overtime.
He banked in a runner off the glass, hit two free throws with just over three minutes left and found Campbell along the baseline for a 3-pointer. With just under two minutes remaining, he hit his own 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 78-70 lead.
The Hokies countered with two 3-pointers by Vassallo and two free throws by J.T. Thompson but Green scored again on a drive in the lane and made his free throws.
Graves and Green combined for 11 assists and committed only two turnovers.