“I just challenged our team to fight a little bit more,” he said. “I never was upset. I knew we'd come back here at home and make it a game.”
Forte and Brown on the offensive end, and a mix of pressure and a 2-3 zone on the defensive end swung momentum. The Cowboys also out-rebounded West Virginia 34-28, fueled by Philip Jurick's game-high 12 boards. Marcus Smart gave OSU a third scorer in double figures with 13.
Brown opened the second half with a 3 and the Cowboys went to work building on their lead, pushing it to double-digits at 46-36 at the 12:52 mark. During that stretch, Brown and Forte each nailed a pair of 3s, infuriating West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who chewed his guards for allowing them to work free.
“We helped them by leaving them open to get them started,” Huggins said. “It's a lot easier to make one after you've made a couple. We helped off the wrong people at the wrong times.”
The Cowboys led by as many as 19, with the early anxious mood inside GIA transforming into an all-out celebration.
Forte figures the new jersey will do, too, and happily.
It was pointed out just last week that the No. 10 issued to Forte had actually been retired two years ago, a nod to the 10 members of the basketball team who died in a plane crash in Colorado 12 years ago.
That prompted the change — just in time for this weekend's “Remember The 10” recognitions, with Sunday the anniversary — with everybody on board.
“I can't complain, 13 worked well today,” Forte said. “I'm going to stay with that number. I understand the circumstance … obviously, it's for a good reason.”
As it turns out, 13 will have to do.
“It was the only extra jersey they had,” Forte said. “That's the reason I got 13. They said, ‘This is the number, it'll have to do for now. If you want to change it next year, you can.' As for now, I plan on keeping 13.”