STILLWATER — Markel Brown and Phil Forte spilled energy and guts all over the floor Saturday, doing everything they could to will their team to a Bedlam win.
Everything except make free throws.
Significantly short-handed, the Cowboys figured to need maximum effort and production from several in their starting five. And Brown and Forte mostly delivered, combining for 42 points, 12 rebounds, all six of Oklahoma State's 3-point buckets and repeated hustle plays in a 77-74 loss.
Yet in the end, there was one statistic left to lament most: 10 missed free throws.
The Cowboys made just 12-of-22 from the line. Forte and Brown, the team's top foul shooters, combined to go 8-of-14.
And Forte — the Big 12 leader in free throw percentage (92.5) who ranked sixth nationally in that category entering the game — also missed the front of two 1-and-1 tries, resulting in missed opportunities, if not more missed shots in a 1-for-4 day at the line.
Oh, and before this Bedlam setback, Forte hadn't missed from the line at Gallagher-Iba Arena … all season. And he'd made 41 straight at home dating back to last year.
“We didn't make our free throws,” Cowboys coach Travis Ford said afterward. “Free throws were a big part of it. It's big. Normally we make those.
“That's how it's going right now.”
It's going bad.
Six losses in a row bad, the program's worst stretch since Sean Sutton's final season as OSU coach in 2007-08. And now the Cowboys go on the road for the third time in four games, visiting Baylor Monday night.
“We've got to dig in,” Ford said. “We've got to bounce back. They're down. This is as down of a locker room that I've seen.
“We just need to keep our head up and understand that there is a lot of basketball left to be played.”
After being routed at Texas on Tuesday night, the Cowboys dug in and were determined, playing with energy from the outset and maintaining it throughout.