Overtime in the NIT championship game seems to bring out the best in Virginia Tech.

In 1973, the Hokies beat Notre Dame for the title on Bobby Stevens' jumper at the buzzer in overtime.On Wednesday night, Tech won its second NIT when Shawn Smith made two free throws with less than a second left in overtime for a 65-64 victory over Marquette.

"I figured if I missed them I'd take the blame and if I made them, I'd be a hero," said Smith, voted the tournament MVP following his 24-point, 12-rebound performance in the final.

Smith, only a 67-percent shooter from the line, made 10 of 12 against Marquette. However, the only ones that Tech fans will remember came after Smith was fouled by Faisal Abraham as he went up for a shot under the basket with seven-tenths of a second remaining.

After Smith made his first free throw to tie the game, Marquette called a timeout to make him think about the next one. But Smith came out and calmly sank the second shot.

"He had to step to the line and make them, and he did just that," said Marquette coach Mike Deane.

Looking for a miracle basket, Marquette then inbounded the ball to Anthony Pieper just across midcourt, but he couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

It was Tech's second victory over Marquette this season. The Hokies (25-10) won the first meeting in Milwaukee, 57-54, on Jan. 17.

Both teams shot only 38 percent, but Tech was much more accurate from the line. The Hokies made 20 of 26 free throws, while Marquette missed 10 of 16.

"This was one of the ugliest games I've ever seen," Tech coach Bill Foster said. "In a way, it typifies our season. We were able to hang tight, keep it close and do it at the end."

Marquette, which won the NIT in 1970, finished 21-12.

"It was disappointing the way we lost. We're just going to come back stronger next year," freshman guard Aaron Hutchins said.

Hutchins scored the first basket of overtime to put Marquette ahead 59-57, but Tech scored six straight points to take a 63-59 lead.

Marquette countered with a 5-0 run, moving ahead 64-63 on a driving layup by Pieper with 18 seconds left. Tech ran down the clock and Smith was fouled after making a pump fake near the basket.

Deane didn't complain about the call.

"I thought we fouled them," he said. "It was a gutsy call to make . . ."

Shawn Good had 14 points for the Hokies. Hutchins and Tony Miller scored 15 points each for Marquette, while Amal McCaskill had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Tech used only seven players, all underclassmen.

"Next year, hopefully this win will provide a springboard for us," Foster said. "We told our kids what a great opportunity this could be and they bought into it."

Trailing by 10 points early in the second half, Virginia Tech rallied to tie it at 55 on Smith's free throw with 1:59 remaining in regulation.

After Roney Eford's foul shot put Marquette up 56-55, Tech took its first lead of the second half on two free throws by Good with 49 seconds left.

Hutchins made one of two from the line to tie it at 57 with 33 seconds remaining. Tech then set up for a possible game-winner, but Myron Gulliory missed a driving shot in the lane. Marquette got the rebound, and Pieper's halfcourt shot bounced off the front of the rim as time expired.

In the consolation game, Dan Earl and John Amaechi scored 17 points apiece to lead Penn State over Canisius 66-62.