OSU freshmen Marcus Smart and Phil Forte go way back, having played together on AAU teams, in high school and now again as Cowboys.
So they've developed a special sense of each other's whereabouts on the court. And that's come in handy countless times when Smart's driven the lane, only to kick a pass out to Forte for an open jumper on the perimeter.
Saturday, however, Forte fed Smart for a memorable moment, with a fast break pass that led to a dunk that sent the Cowboys ahead 55-40 and sent the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd into a frenzy during an 80-66 rout of West Virginia.
“We got a defensive play, I looked up and he was open,” Forte said. “He made the big finish and of course the dunk always gets the crowd going. It was great to get that momentum going and the arena got louder and it helped feed us.”
And Forte was happy to be on the giving end.
“He always does a great job of not only finding me but everyone else,” he said, “so anytime I can flip the script it's always nice.”
Wednesday: vs. Iowa State, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Kansas, 3 p.m.
Feb. 6: Baylor, 6 p.m.
The Cyclones endured an uneven week, losing at Texas Tech, 56-51, where the Red Raiders had been 0-3 at home; then ending No. 11 Kansas State's six-game road winning streak with a 73-67 victory in Ames. Iowa State typically lives and dies with its 3-point shooting. Against the Wildcats, ISU made 11-of-22 from the arc, getting 3s from six different players.
* OSU overcame its largest deficit in a win this season, against West Virginia, which led by as many as 13 points.
* The Cowboys went 10-of-19 on 3-point shots, good for a season-high 52.6 percent.
* With three steals against the Mountaineers, Marcus Smart now has 49 thefts this season, tying Richard Dumas for the second-most by a freshman in school history.
* In his last three games, sophomore forward Michael Cobbins is averaging nine points and 7.3 rebounds.
* After scoring 24 points in Monday's loss at Baylor, Le'Bryan Nash managed just two points (both on free throws) in 25 minutes against West Virginia.
By John Helsley