Oklahoma State basketball: Phil Forte's history with Kansas goes beyond upset at Allen Fieldhouse

Cowboy freshman is the son of a former Kansas football player.
by John Helsley Published: February 19, 2013

Phil Forte used to cry when Kansas lost.

The son of Phil Forte Sr., a former Jayhawks football player, little Phil used to sit in the Allen Fieldhouse bleachers, decked out in crimson and blue, cooing the Rock Chalk Chant.

So imagine the surreal feeling when Forte stood waiting to run on the floor in Lawrence 2 1/2 weeks ago, and the sounds started to stir inside The Phog.

“I heard the KU fight song and thought, ‘God, I've heard this a thousand times. Now I'm going to take the court against them,'” the Cowboys freshman said this week.

Not just take the court against them, but help slay them, scoring six points in the final 30 seconds of an 85-80 Oklahoma State upset that ended KU's 33-game home winning streak and made a race of the Big 12 regular season.

“Never would I have ever thought I'd be at the free throw line,” Forte said, “trying to ice the game at Allen Fieldhouse. It was just a great experience.”

Even for dad, although not without a few jabs from his pals.

“They told me, ‘Now Phil, don't you be wearing that orange and black in Allen Fieldhouse,'” said Phil Sr. “Of course, I wore it right on in there.”

Still, the scene took some getting used to, for dad and almost anyone who knew the family's life-long allegiances.

“Just before that game, Phillip's middle school coach, whom I'm still friends with today, sent me a text,” said Phil Sr. “He said, ‘I'm watching the little kid who came in to school every day wearing a Kansas Jayhawk t-shirt. And now I'm watching him today wearing orange and going to Allen Fieldhouse to play KU.'”

Then everyone watched as the Cowboys stunned the Jayhawks, with little Phil playing a major role at the end.

Twice in the final half-minute he went to the line to try and expand leads, each time hitting two free throws, bumping OSU's advantage first to 80-76, then later to 83-80. He added the finishing touches, too, on a breakaway layup on a steal and feed by Marcus Smart.

No tears, only smiles.

The experience expands Wednesday, with the No. 14 Cowboys and No. 9 Jayhawks clashing in a high stakes game inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip time is 8 p.m. for an ESPN2 telecast pitting two teams involved in a three-way tie atop the Big 12 standings with Kansas State at 9-3.

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