Phil Forte found himself in the second half Saturday night.
And he helped Oklahoma State find its way to a 78-73 win over Colorado in the MGM Grand Showcase in Las Vegas.
Forte, coming off back-to-back ragged outings, scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half to provide a needed bench boost during what became an uneasy final few minutes in the matchup of Top 25 teams.
The No. 7-ranked Cowboys owned their biggest lead, 73-61, when Forte fired in his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 3:03 remaining. But OSU struggled to close the game out, with two turnovers, a missed dunk and three missed free throws allowing the No. 20 Buffaloes to hang around.
The Cowboys made just 23 of 35 foul shots in the game, preventing a more comfortable finish.
Still, OSU improved to 11-1. The Buffaloes had their 10-game winning streak snapped, falling to 10-2.
“When we needed to get points, we got ’em,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford. “When we needed to get stops, we got ’em.”
Markel Brown led all scorers with 23 points and had 11 rebounds for a double-double. Marcus Smart added 18 points and Le’Bryan Nash 15 for the Cowboys.
Forte had gone 2 of 12 from the floor and 1 of 10 from 3-point range on Tuesday night against . That came on the heels of a scoreless outing against Louisiana Tech. But against Colorado, Forte kept providing big shots at big moments.
“He found his mark again,” Ford said of Forte. “He really looked good and made big shots for us.”
Josh Scott led the Buffs with 20 points, taking advantage late with Michael Cobbins and Kamari Murphy both fouled out for OSU. Askia Booker added 19 for Colorado, while Spencer Dinwiddie had 18.
The Cowboys now get extended time off for Christmas, before returning to Gallagher-Iba Arena on Dec. 30 to face Robert Morris in their final nonconference game of the season.
Against Colorado, OSU used a 7-1 spurt at the end of the half to take a 32-26 lead to intermission, matching its biggest lead of the first 20 minutes.
Brown fueled the surge, scoring seven of his points over the final 7:04 when Smart sat with two fouls. Brown also had four rebounds, three assists and a steal in the first half, asserting himself while Smart was missing.
Despite his extended time on the bench, Smart had nine points at the half.