KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Phil Forte had just fouled Nick Franklin shooting — and making — a 3-pointer, setting up a four-point play that would tie Oklahoma State's game with Baylor with 19.1 seconds remaining Thursday night.
And there was nowhere to hide inside the Sprint Center, as No. 14 OSU's one-time, 20-point lead had fully disintegrated.
“It's not a good feeling,” Forte said. “We had a game won, you don't want to be the guy who gave up a four-point play to allow them to tie it. I mean, if that game goes into overtime, they have all the momentum.”
The Cowboys finished the job instead, and fittingly with Forte knocking down two foul shots moments later, sending OSU to a 74-72 win in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament.
“That was a scary moment, when they got that four-point play,” said Cowboys guard Brian Williams. “But Phil came back and knocked down some big free throws.”
And that wasn't all.
Forte, unfazed by his earlier gaffe, rerouted Pierre Jackson's final 3-point try, which missed off the rim at the buzzer.
“I'm surprised he did that after he just fouled,” said OSU's Markel Brown. “But he jumped up there and made a very good contest.”
OSU, improving to 24-7 and advancing to the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2009, will face No. 11 Kansas State at 9 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats advanced with a 66-49 rout of Texas.
The Cowboys appeared headed for a similar style rout of Baylor in a game that wasn't at all supposed to be easy.
Except it was easy, at least through the first 20 minutes, as the Cowboys bolted to a 20-point first-half lead that was still 18 points, 42-24, at intermission.
And then it wasn't easy any longer.
Jackson got hot, scoring 24 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and 14 of his team's final 21 points, igniting the Bears' rally. Baylor never led, but it carried the action throughout the final period, as the Cowboys got away from the attacking aggressive style that gave them early control.
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