Before Saturday's 80-66 win over West Virginia, the Cowboys players filed into the stands to address former OSU coach Eddie Sutton, who was making one of his several yearly visits to Gallagher-Iba Arena for a game.
Sutton, also on hand for “Remember The 10” recognition, recently lost his wife Patsy to complications due to a stroke.
“It's something I wanted to do,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “It's something I would have done last game, but I didn't know he was here. So, I had someone in charge of letting me know if he was here today.
“We just wanted to send our respects and condolences to him, but more than anything just the respect for him and letting him know we're all thinking about him. He is Oklahoma State basketball.”
Before tipoff at Gallagher-Iba Arena, there was a moment of silence for the 10 men lost in the crash.
FORTE FRUSTRATES MOUNTAINEERS
Cowboys freshman Phil Forte struck for a career-high 26 points off the bench against West Virginia, with much of his damage coming from outside in the form of six 3-pointers.
Forte ignited an OSU comeback from an early 13-point deficit, and ignited the GIA crowd.
Yet he didn't, apparently, impress the Mountaineers.
“It's the only thing he can do, is get the ball and shoot it,” said WVU forward Deniz Kilicli. “He's not going to create anything dribbling the ball. He's not going to play pick and rolls or anything. He's just going to come shoot the ball.”
Mountaineers guard Eron Harris echoed the sentiment.
“A few times the ball got turned lose and the guy on him left and that left him open,” Harris said. “Other times he shouldn't have gotten any shots off. We just did dumb stuff. All he does is shoot.”
JURICK'S PRESENCE NOTED
While Forte and Markel Brown were the obvious scoring story lines, combining for 50 points, center Philip Jurick added eight points — and a game-high 12 rebounds, several on putbacks.
“He was terrific,” Ford said. “The eight points is a bonus for us. But I really loved the rebounds he was getting early in the game, bringing that presence in the lane.”
DEFENSIVE SWITCH SPURS COWBOYS
OSU prefers man-to-man defense.
But in times of need — like Saturday — Ford will flip to a zone. Against the Mountaineers, Ford went to a 2-3 zone and stuck with it.
“The zone really helped us,” Ford said. “It changed momentum a little bit.
“We always have it ready. We work on it periodically, not a whole lot.”
Not only did the zone affect WVU's offense, it aided the Cowboys' offense, with Mountaineers misses leading to fast-break opportunities.
“You get them shooting longer shots, they rebound a little longer and we get out on the fast break,” Ford said. “Getting out on the break was huge, really big for us. When we were struggling in the half-court, to get out and get a few baskets really helps your confidence.”
Wednesday: vs. Iowa State, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Kansas, 3 p.m.
Feb. 6: Baylor, 6 p.m.