Cowboys freshman guard Phil Forte found his shooting stroke Saturday, firing in six 3-pointers on his way to 22 points, a career high, in OSU's 78-42 win over Tennessee Tech.
Forte made 7 of 13 shots overall in 26 minutes off the bench.
“It's easy to shoot when you have teammates who really trust you,” said Forte, who was averaging 9.8 points entering the game.
Forte more than filled his role, which is to provide perimeter offense.
“He's capable of having this, night in and night out,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford, “but he's capable of missing shots, just like anybody else. One thing you don't have to worry about is how hard he plays. He's going to know the scouting report. He's going to play good defense.
“Some nights, the shots are going to go in, some they're not. What we tell him is, ‘Shoot the basketball.' The more shots he gets, the better off we are.”
GARDNER GETS GOING, TOO
The transition from junior college has featured a dramatic learning curve for Kirby Gardner, who didn't join the program until August.
Gardner missed OSU's exhibition tour of Spain and the extra practices that trip allowed, putting him in catch-up mode from the start. But he's been steadily coming along, with Saturday revealing his best game yet: 10 points, seven assists and five steals — all career highs.
“I feel like I'm catching up to the team and trying to gain chemistry with them overall,” Gardner said.
Gardner, listed generously at 6-foot-2, even threw in a surprise, going up for a dunk while out front on a fast break.