It was a ragged game for both teams, with each shooting worse than 40 percent from the floor: OSU 37.5; Akron 30.0.
It may prove to be a costly game for the Cowboys, who added Jéan-Paul Olukemi to an expanding injured list. Olukemi hurt his knee in the first half and did not return.
OSU got a combined 51 points from three players, with Le'Bryan Nash scoring 20, Markel Brown 15 and Smart 14.
Still, the Cowboys needed the six late from Forte, after losing a 10-point second half lead, then finding themselves down in the overtime.
“I can't begin to describe how proud I am of our basketball team,” Ford said. “For how much adversity we faced – injuries again, foul trouble – we figured out how to win against a very good basketball team when odds didn't look our way.
“We stuck with our execution. We got the ball where we needed to get it. We made big defensive stops. As I told our team, I'm so proud of them.”