Phil Forte and Jeff Carroll struggled throughout Monday night’s Bedlam game but the Oklahoma State veterans came up with the big plays with the game on the line as the Cowboys rallied for a 68-66 victory over Oklahoma at Lloyd Noble Arena.
Forte’s 3-pointer with 9.9 seconds remaining gave the Cowboys the two-point lead and then Carroll’s block of OU freshman Kameron McGusty’s 16-footer clinched the Cowboys first win in Norman in 13 years. OSU had lost the last seven in a row to OU, and the Cowboys last win in Norman was on Feb. 16, 2004.
The Cowboys trailed by four points with about a minute to play but rallied to score the game’s last six points for their fourth win in a row. OSU improves to 14-8 overall and 3-6 in the Big 12, while the Sooners fall to 8-13 and 2-7
“I don’t know who to complement because it was a great team effort,” OSU head coach Brad Underwood said of his first Bedlam game. “Mitchell Solomon just had a tough night, and steps up and make two free throws (with 24 seconds left to pull the Cowboys within 66-65), then Jeff gets a big offensive rebound, Phil hits the shot, and Jawun gets the steal.
“Jeffrey Carroll, I’m really proud of him because when you’re getting 20 (points) a night, and on a night when the ball doesn’t go in … and then he makes a great block (of McGusty), gets a piece of that shot, and you find a way to win.
“I’m really, really proud of our guys tonight.”
Oklahoma State shot a season-worst 33.3 percent from the field as the Cowboys three leading scorers – Jawun Evans (18.1), Carroll (17.8) and Forte (14.0) – struggled to put the ball in the basket. They were a combined 10-of-39 shooting from the field.
Evans led the Cowboys with 24 points but was just 5-of-20 from the field, while Forte added 11 (on 4-of-11 shooting) and Carroll finished with six points (making just 1 of 8 shots). Freshman Lindy Waters, playing in his hometown of Norman, came up big with 11 points, and was a perfect 3-of-3 on 3-pointers.
“I’m ecstatic for Phil hitting that shot,” Underwood said. “That’s what a senior does. Hustle, hustle, effort. Those are the plays that win games for you.
“Ultimately 20 offensive rebounds on a night when you shoot 33 percent on the road, you’ve got to win those games. This was an NCAA Tournament-type game where sometimes scoring is hard, and you’ve got to find a way.
“We weren’t at our best but let’s give them some credit as well.”
The Cowboys will have a few days to recover before going on the road to face No. 7 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va. The Cowboys lost to the Mountaineers 92-75 on Dec. 30 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.