Cowboys Use 20-3 Run To Gain Victory

Oklahoma State saw some adversity Monday night. Le’Bryan Nash picked up his fourth foul with more than 13 minutes left to play. Phil Forte missed three free throws. Leyton Hammonds wasn’t able to play because of an ankle injury. Yet despite those obstacles the Cowboys defeated Oregon State 66-53 in a semifinal game of the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas.

The Cowboys, now 5-0, advance to Wednesday night’s championship game against Tulsa, which defeated Auburn 53-35 in Monday night’s second semifinal.

With Nash on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 13:17 remaining in the second half and Forte struggling to find the basket (he was 4-of-11 shooting and only 2-of-9 from 3-point range, including missing those three free throws), newcomer Anthony Hickey took control for the Cowboys.

With Hickey leading the way the Cowboys were able to go on a 20-3 run while Nash was sitting out for nearly 10 minutes after picking up his fourth foul.

"I thought Hickey gave us great minutes in the second half. He really competed," said Cowboys head coach Travis Ford.

"We've been talking a lot (with Hickey) about show his speed, show his quickness and compete. He saw that Phil Forte wasn't on, LB (Nash) was out of the game, so he took it upon his shoulders to try to make things happen, and it really worked out for him."

The senior point showed why the Cowboys coaching staff was so thrilled to get the three-year starter at LSU the past three seasons when he transferred to OSU in the summer. Hickey finished with 12 points (all in the second half), 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal but seemed to make the plays when they were needed after Oregon State tied the game 44-44 with just over 10 minutes left in the second half.

Nash still led the Cowboys with 19 points despite sitting out much of the second half, and Forte added 17 despite struggling with his shooting. Jeffrey Carroll contributed 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

Only two other players scored for the Cowboys – Michael Cobbins with 3 points and Tavarius Shine with 2.

Ford was really pleased with the stat line of redshirt freshman Jeffrey Carroll with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

"If it wasn't for Jeffrey Carroll we probably go in at halftime down (instead of leading 30-24)," Ford said. "He made some big buckets, especially threes, to really separate it a little bit (in the first half). But he's been showing that physicality rebounding, size-wise that we need. He's giving us great minutes right now."

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