Even short-handed, OSU played well, posting double-digit wins over Tennessee and N.C. State. Marcus Smart earned Most Valuable Player honors and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Le'Bryan Nash, who scored 58 points in the three games. Most impressive to Ford, however, was the team's defense.
OSU held its three opponents to 30.7 percent shooting (56-of-182) from the floor and created 35 turnovers.
“We held some teams down defensively,” Ford said. “We went into the N.C. State game thinking, ‘We better score 75 points.' That's kind of what we thought. That's one of the most potent offensive teams we've seen.
“But we did a great job defensively. It was really fun to watch.”
The Cowboys should be equipped to hold their newfound ranking for a while. They're off until playing Portland State on Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena, where they'll be for seven of eight games before the start of the Big 12 schedule.
“We've got to be very humble with the early success, because there's a long season to go,” Ford said. “And we have a long way to go as a basketball team that needs to continue to improve.”
That's a message not lost on Smart.
“You take this as a learning experience,” said the freshman guard. “Yeah, we won. We beat three great teams. But it's all about how we perform in conference play. In conference play, things are going to be a lot harder. This is just a learning process.
“We're going to have to come back and work harder than we did for this trip.”