Cowboys ride hot shooting to down West Virginia
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 7:15 AM
Related Story: OSU basketball notebook: Remembering the 10
STILLWATER - Phil Forte and Markel Brown followed one of their worst shooting outings with one of their best.
Five days removed from combining for three field goals in a loss at Baylor, the pair accounted for 50 points as Oklahoma State trounced West Virginia 80-66 on Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
"That's how basketball goes sometimes," Forte said. "We know we can make those shots; we just have to keep taking them. (Today) they were falling."
Forte, in his first game since switching to jersey No. 13, scored a career-high 26 points behind six 3-pointers. Brown's 24 points were a season-high.
"It was very important coming off a bad shooting night and regaining confidence from our game (Monday)," Brown said. "... I got Phil open for some shots and he got me some assists, and I returned the favor.
"We took a lot of good shots, and they were falling."
But early on, nothing was working. West Virginia's defense was problematic for OSU, which went four minutes without a field goal midway through the first half and trailed 24-11.
"I didn't feel comfortable about anything out there at that time," coach Travis Ford said. "I just challenged our team to fight a little bit more."
After the Mountaineers scored nine straight points, Forte knocked down a 3-pointer that sparked the Cowboys' 19-3 run to end the first half. During that stretch, Forte delivered three treys, prompting the crowd of 7,512 to come alive.
"We just had to settle our guys down and withstand the pressure they were putting on us," Brown said. "We started attacking and getting the ball to the rim.
"Getting kickouts to Phil in the corner helped us get back in the game."
Said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins: "We helped them by leaving them open to get them started. It's a lot easier to make one after you've made a couple."
Defensively, OSU (13-5 overall, 3-3 Big 12) found success after switching to a zone.
"We always have our zone ready in case we need it," Ford said. "I think our zone helped our offense, too, for the fact that it gave our offense a rest.
"You get them shooting longer shots, they rebound a bit longer and we got out on the fast break."
Brown and Forte both hit their first shots of the second half, and the Cowboys raced to a 55-40 advantage when Smart got a steal and passed to Forte, who dished to Smart for the dunk.
OSU scored 50 points in the second half of the first Stillwater meeting between the teams.
The Cowboys got a career-high eight points from center Philip Jurick, who also had a dozen rebounds.
"The eight points are a great bonus for us," Ford said, "but I really love the rebounds he was getting early in the game especially above the rim, bringing that big presence inside. I'm very happy with him."
In its first season in the Big 12, West Virginia dropped to 9-10 overall and 2-4 in conference play.
"We had a timeout where we were going to run a set against the zone, and I couldn't even get my guys on the right side of the floor," a dejected Huggins said. "I think if you look historically at my teams, we've scored at an extremely high rate after timeouts.
"I don't know what goes through their heads. ... I've never had guys like this."
Vs. Iowa State
7 p.m. Wednesday
Original Print Headline: OSU finds shooting touch in victory
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Oklahoma State's Phil Forte shoots over West Virginia's Eron Harris during Saturday's 80-66 win in Stillwater. KT KING / For the Tulsa World