In a game that matched NBA talent on both sides and featured elite athletes all over the floor, OSU guard Phil Forte had a role Saturday at Kansas.
But a major role?
The Cowboys' sixth man led all scorers, firing in 7 of 10 3-pointers, and also added five rebounds, two assists and two steals in 30 minutes. Forte played hard throughout, diving for loose balls and scrambling all over the court.
Afterward, he got a salute from KU coach Bill Self.
“First of all, he's tough,” Self said. “Phil is tough. He does a terrific job of moving without the ball. And he's got a quick release — he may have the quickest release in the country. And he was on fire today.
“From what I understand, and having recruited him a little bit, the kid is just in love with the game. He can't get enough. He works so hard on his shot. This is one thing I've heard from other people about him, he'll take 1,000 shots a day just to make the one in the game. A lot of people aren't willing to put in the time for those limited opportunities.
“He's certainly earned everything that's come his way.”
Saturday: West Virginia, 1 p.m.
Jan. 27: at Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
Feb. 1: Baylor, 1 p.m.
OFFICIALS IN FOCUS
As much as Marcus Smart, Andrew Wiggins, Markel Brown and Joel Embiid, Saturday's game officials became a part of the storyline.
The crew of John Higgins, Doug Sirmons and Keith Kimble came into focus by calling six technicals, a flagrant 1 foul and a strange double-foul on a charge/block situation. They took a beating from college basketball analysts on Twitter during the game, and in stories afterward.
“The officials got to dig into their grab bag of calls,” wrote ESPN's Dana O'Neil, “… “(they missed hitting for the cycle by a flagrant 2).”
Former OSU player and CBS Sports college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb took dead aim at Higgins.
“John Higgins called the phantom foul, both Ts that were bad on both sides, just an awful day John … embarrassing for the game.”