"The first thing I told Ray Penn when I walked in the locker room was you probably got outplayed for 25 minutes by Jacob Pullen but you won the last 10 minutes, and that's when it matters for our team," said Ford.
"Ray made free throws at the end and that was huge. He was 1 for 8 from the field but the 15-for-15 free throws from Ray and Keiton (Page), we needed every one of them."
Penn finished with 10 points, 3 of the Cowboys' 6 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 32 minutes.
The 6-foot-5 Franklin had played just 21 minutes this season, and never more than nine in any game, but he played a season-high 16 minutes on Saturday. He did not score but finished with two rebounds and two steals. However, his most important contribution was the energy he brought to the floor and the enthusiasm he played with for the Cowboys.
"Roger has had his two best practices the last two days that he's had all year long," said Ford. "The thing about Roger is he gives you steady minutes. He's not going to do anything spectacular but he's going to give you every single bit of positive energy that he's got.
"He's got more positive energy every day, every game ... and I know what I'm going to get from Roger. I know Roger is going to run the plays right, and I don't know about some of these other guys some times. You know Roger is going to do exactly what you tell him.
"We just kept playing well and playing well (with him on the court). I turned to our staff and said, ‘Should I get Matt in?' All four of them at the same time said, ‘No, leave Roger in there.' So we just rode him out. I felt he was giving our other four players a positive vibe. I felt that they felt good with him out there, and he came up with a steal, he came up with a couple rebounds, he made a nice pass. He gave us very positive minutes and that's what we're needing."
"I thought the last 10 minutes we dug down. I thought we'd make a run somewhere, and I liked a lot of the things we were doing even though we dug a hole," For said. "I had confidence that somebody was going to make a play and that's what happened. Keiton got fouled on a three-point shot, making a play.
"Our team throughout the first 15 games, whoever it's been against, whether it was against Houston Baptist, Central Arkansas, DePaul or Kansas State, we seem to respond when things get tough. That's a dangerous way to live. That's not the way we want to live.
"We can't turn it off and on, and we seem to be doing that. That's not necessarily what we want. I'm glad we've done it but we need to start being a little more consistent for 40 minutes," Ford added.