Texas-Sized Victory

Phil Forte, Leyton Hammonds and Marcus Smart all grew up just a few miles from TCU's Daniel Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. The three played like they were back at home Monday night in leading Oklahoma State to a 76-54 victory over TCU as the Cowboys won for the second time in the last three days after not winning 28 days during a seven-game losing streak.

The Cowboys improve to 18-10 overall and 6-9 in Big 12 play, while TCU saw its record drop to 9-18 and 0-15.

Forte, Hammonds and Smart combined for 53 points – just one point less than the entire Horned Frogs team – while making 13 of 24 three-pointers on Monday night. The trio also contributed 14 rebounds and 11 assists.

Forte led the Cowboys with 23 points, making 8 of 13 shots, with four assists and two steals.

Smart, wearing jersey number 43 because his 33 jersey was accidentally left back in Stillwater, missed 10 of his first 11 shots, including all four of his three-point attempts in the first half. But he made up for it in the second half by going 5-for-5 on treys and finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals.

"We're going back to 33. But that's kind of how our season has been," Cowboys head coach Travis Ford said. "We forget his jersey. How about that? That's a new one."

Hammonds, the true freshman who entered the game averaging 1.1 points per game while making just 18.2 percent of his three-pointers this season, played a seasoned veteran against the Horned Frogs. He finished with a career-best 13 points while making three treys.

"I thought our defense was very good. I thought our offense was a little sloppy at times. We didn't really pass the ball as well as we're capable, even though we had 20 assists which was great," Ford said. "But I thought our defense was the difference in the game. I thought we really did a great job on their point guard (Kyan Anderson, who finished with 15 points but was 5 of 14 from the field), who is one of the most prolific scorers.

"We had great contributions off the bench from Leyton Hammonds. I thought he did a good job for us. Phil Forte kept us in the game in the first half with his threes. But overall our defense was the difference," Ford added.

The Cowboys led 37-22 at halftime but the Horned Frogs used a 10-0 run to trim the margin to six points midway through the second half. But that's as close as TCU would get.

Forte and Smart, who won back-to-back Texas Class 5A state championship while playing at nearby at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, looked like they were back in high school during a 32-second sequence.

The Horned Frogs were still hanging around at 58-46 with a little more than five minutes remaining when Smart drained a three from the corner. A few seconds later the Cowboys sophomore point guard made a steal and found his former high school teammate for a wide open look in front of the OSU bench, and Forte nailed the trey. Forte then made the steal on the inbounds play and fed Smart, who sank a three from the wing. In 32 seconds, OSU's led went from 58-46 to 67-46 and the game was over.

"It was a great sequence. That's good basketball," Ford said.

The Cowboys have five days now to prepare for Saturday's nationally televised showdown against fifth-ranked Kansas. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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