STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State raised the level of its defensive pressure in the second half, which led to offensive success for the Cowboys and a victory in the first Big 12 Conference contest Saturday.
Phil Forte scored 20 points — seven of those during a decisive seven-minute stretch in the second half — and Oklahoma State sealed a 61-47 victory over Kansas State.
Le’Bryan Nash scored 11 points and had six rebounds for the Cowboys (11-2, 1-0).
“I thought our defensive intensity in the second half created some points for us,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. “Our defense allowed us to open the court up a little bit. We just got to play better for 40 minutes instead of just halves, but glad to get the win and it’s good to be 1-0 in the league.”
Thomas Gipson scored 14 points to lead Kansas State (7-7, 0-1), which lost its third straight contest.
Trailing 29-27 at halftime, Oklahoma State made a strong push early in the second half, going on a game-changing 25-4 run that included 15-straight points. The Cowboys built up a 54-37 lead after Jeff Newberry connected on a 3 from the left baseline with 11:16 to go.
The game hadn’t seen more than a six-point lead before OSU’s run.
“I thought the first half we played hard and we competed with them,” said Wildcats coach Bruce Weber. “The second half, we told (our players) they would turn it up a notch. They beat us to balls and they just out-toughed us in that little four-minute flurry. The turnovers and steals in that little run was the difference.”
During that dominating stretch, Anthony Hickey scored seven consecutive points for the Cowboys and helped lock down the defensive side of the ball.
“I thought Anthony Hickey really changed the game, gave us a lot of momentum with his defense leading to some easy shots for us,” said Ford. “I think his on-the-ball pressure was terrific. That’s his job. I tell him, he’s got to lead us defensively and kind of set the tone for us.”
Hickey finished the day with 10 points, four rebounds and four steals.
Newberry added seven points during the early portion of the second half, including two free throws after he was knocked to the floor with a flagrant foul by K-State’s Malek Harris with 15:51 remaining.
Kansas State went ahead 14-11 with 6:11 gone in the opening half when Nigel Johnson connected on a 3-pointer from the right baseline, but Oklahoma State reeled off a 12-3 run over the next four-plus minutes.
Back-to-back 3s from Forte, including one he lofted up from significant distance just as the shot clock expired, put the Cowboys up 23-17 with 9:42 left.
The Wildcats responded with eight consecutive points, retaking the lead at 25-23 when Justin Edwards slammed home a 2-on-1 pass from Wesley Iwundu as part of a 12-2 run. Kansas State led by two points at halftime.
• TIP INS
Oklahoma State’s Tavarius Shine scored eight points in a span of about two minutes early in the first half. His 3-pointer from the left baseline with 12:29 left gave the Cowboys a 17-14 lead. The freshman from Irving, Texas did not score again, falling just short of his career-high 10 points on Nov. 28.
Kansas State’s Marcus Foster entered the game leading the Wildcats with an average of 14.0 points per game, but was shut out on the day. Coming off the bench, he played just 14 minutes, shooting 0 for 4 from the field, including 0 for 2 from 3-point range. “He’s hit a little bit of a non-confident period,” Weber said of Foster. “He went from being a star and now he’s struggling, and it happens to everyone. He just has to push himself every day in practice, just like everybody else.”
Sitting courtside during the game was former OSU star Bryant ‘Big Country’ Reeves, who led Oklahoma State to the Final Four in 1995, where they have been just once since (2004). He received a standing ovation from the crowd of 11,185 when he was shown on the video board midway through the first half.
• UP NEXT
Oklahoma State travels to No. 9 Iowa State on Tuesday.
Kansas State is at home to face TCU on Wednesday.
Big 12 Conference
At Stillwater, Okla.
KANSAS ST. (7-7)
Williams 2-5 0-0 4, Edwards 4-7 2-2 11, N. Johnson 3-7 0-1 7, Iwundu 0-3 0-0 0, Gipson 4-8 6-7 14, Thomas 1-2 2-2 4, Foster 0-4 0-0 0, T. Harris 0-1 0-0 0, M. Harris 2-5 1-4 5, Bolden 0-0 0-0 0, Rohleder 0-0 0-0 0, Hurt 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 17-45 11-16 47.
OKLAHOMA ST. (11-2)
Nash 5-12 1-2 11, Hickey Jr. 4-8 0-0 10, Forte III 8-13 1-2 20, Cobbins 0-1 2-2 2, Newberry 2-5 5-6 10, Griffin 0-0 0-0 0, Shine 3-5 0-0 8, Sager 0-0 0-0 0, Hammonds 0-1 0-0 0, Allen Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Solomon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-45 9-12 61.
Halftime—Kansas St. 29-27. 3-Point Goals—Kansas St. 2-8 (Edwards 1-1, N. Johnson 1-3, Hurt 0-1, T. Harris 0-1, Foster 0-2), Oklahoma St. 8-21 (Forte III 3-7, Shine 2-4, Hickey Jr. 2-5, Newberry 1-3, Nash 0-1, Hammonds 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Kansas St. 26 (Edwards 5), Oklahoma St. 29 (Nash 6). Assists—Kansas St. 11 (Iwundu 4), Oklahoma St. 7 (Newberry 3). Total Fouls—Kansas St. 12, Oklahoma St. 16.