“It affected us a lot, because we couldn't get out and pressure like we wanted to,” Smart said. “We were so cautious of whether we were going to get a foul. We had to adjust to how the game was being called. And it hurt us.
“It was a big deal to us.”
The Cowboys showed how big immediately in the second half, turning up the pressure and turning over the Jayhawks — four times early in the half during a spurt that trimmed the lead to eight, 52-44 — and 14 times overall in the final 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, Forte and Markel Brown heated up, firing in eight 3-pointers and combining for 27 of their 38 points after intermission.
“Going into halftime, we knew it was going to take a big effort to come back, especially playing on the road,” said Forte, who finished with a game-high 23 points and 7 treys. “We just tried to make it four-minute intervals and slowly chip away at the lead. We did that. “We played the way we should have come out and played, with a lot of intensity and effort and playing as a team. I think that's what got us back.”
When Forte drilled his final 3 from the corner with :05.7 left, OSU was somehow within one, 79-78.
And after Mason missed one of two foul shots at the other end, the Cowboys rushed upcourt, yet couldn't get off a shot, with Mason saving the day.
“LB tried to make the play,” Forte said of Nash. “I think it was the right play. Kansas just made a good play.
“Give them all the credit, they made a game-winning play.”