Men's Basketball: Oklahoma State
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Monday, February 04, 2013
2/04/13 at 9:04 AM
15-5 overall, 5-3 Big 12
with Phil Forte
Weight: 195 pounds
Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas
Known by teammates and coaches as "Little Phil" to avoid confusion with center "Big Phil" Jurick, Forte has hit some gigantic shots in his freshman season, including all four of his free throws in the final 30 seconds of Saturday's win against Kansas. He is averaging 11.9 points and shooting 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Your Twitter handle (@PhilForte10) still has your old number. Are you going to change it?
I think I am. I'm just not used to the whole "13" thing still. ... (When autographing a basketball) I signed it "Phil Forte #10" and I thought, "Oh, I can't do that anymore."
You're obviously still drawing comparisons to Keiton Page. Have you gotten to know him as the season has gone on?
We have grown and become close together, on and off the court. He's a great guy. He's great to learn from. It's just nice for me to have someone like him that's been through everything I'm trying to get through.
Is there a class you're taking this semester that you're enjoying?
Right now, my favorite class is Teachings of Jesus. It's a good class. I like the professor, Dr. (Michael) Thompson. He's a great teacher, one of the best teachers I've ever had.
What a dramatic week it was for OSU, which won a pair of thrillers in the final seconds. Marcus Smart hit the winning jumper Wednesday against Iowa State, and his steal and assist as time expired helped the Cowboys pull off a monster upset at No. 2 Kansas on Saturday.
The week ahead
Wednesday: vs. Baylor, 6 p.m.
Saturday: at Texas, 12:30 p.m.
The rematch with the Bears comes 2 1/2 weeks after OSU lost by 10 in Waco, its only defeat in the last six games. Since dropping their first five conference games, the Longhorns have found home wins against fellow Big 12 basement occupants Texas Tech and TCU.
The big picture
How does the KU win rank among Travis Ford's victories at OSU?
In five seasons as head coach, Ford has six wins against top-10 teams and three against a No. 1 or No. 2 opponent, but none occurred in a true road game. On Saturday, the Cowboys defeated a top-5 team on the road for the first time in 55 years. Other Ford victories, including in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, have been significant, but the upset over the Jayhawks seems the most meaningful. It came at a time when OSU was desperate for a road win, when Kansas had owned the series in Lawrence and when Ford was on the hot seat with a vocal portion of the fanbase.
Does that mean Ford is back in good graces with fans who wanted him gone?
Maybe temporarily, but as a tulsaworld.com commenter put it, if OSU can win at Kansas, why does this team have a 5-3 conference record? With each morsel of success comes higher expectations. Ultimately, the only way to win with fans is to keep winning.
What confidence was gained from Saturday's victory?
Before Saturday, the players had it in their heads that they struggled on the road. That notion should be gone. Additionally, there's a reason Bill Self identified OSU as the most talented team in the Big 12 before the season began. If the Cowboys can start having faith in themselves, perhaps the pieces will start falling into place now that the toughest portion of the conference slate is in the past.
Kansas center Jeff Withey tries to keep the ball away from OSU guard Markel Brown during the first half of Saturday's game in Lawrence, Kan. ORLIN WAGNER / Associated Press