“Everything we’ve been through in the preseason, to develop that chemistry we needed to have some offensive flow. You combine that with a team that is unorthodox in everything they do, I knew it was going to be like this.”
While the Aggies were far from .500 a year ago, they do sport a revamped roster. They didn’t play great in their visit to Stillwater, yet they hung around in the second half, led briefly and didn’t fade until the final minutes.
UC Davis made 7-of-16 shots from the arc and out-rebounded the Cowboys 43-29.
“I was really pleased with our scrappy effort, especially on the boards,” said Aggies coach Jim Les. “We battled that team.
“Give Oklahoma State credit because they hit the shots when they needed to. Their backs were against the wall and they made the plays they needed to make and that is the sign of a good team.”
Markel Brown and Nash each scored 16 points to lead the Cowboys, while Olukemi added 10. Smart added eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
OSU built a 13-point late in the first half, before the Aggies pulled close and refused to go away, grabbing the lead with 12:25 remaining, then tying the game twice later — 59-59 at the 5:48 mark and 61-61 moments later.
But Olukemi scored on a lay-in and Forte buried his 3 from the corner. Then with OSU’s lead at 68-65 with 2:35 left, Forte drilled another 3 and the Aggies never scored again.
After just missing on two early 3s, Forte kept firing.
“I had two rattle in and out,” he said, “don’t think they could have been any closer to going in. They were like, ‘Hey, keep shooting.’”
A somewhat overlooked piece of this recruiting class, Forte’s role seems to be expanding.
“We need him on the court,” Ford said. “He can obviously make shots. He can come off screens and shoot. And he’s a reliable defender.”