STILLWATER — The Cowboys got double digits from each of the five players to play more than six minutes in the game.
Le’Bryan Nash, who played 37 minutes, kept the Cowboys alive in the first half by scoring 14 of his 18 points after scoring just 2 points against West Virginia. Phil Forte carried over his breakout performance against the Mountaineers with a 17-point performance — going 3 for 8 from 3-point range — as he played 34 minutes due to the smaller matchup against the Cyclones.
Forte also came up big on defense, tying Smart for the most steals in the contest. His biggest came late in the game with the Cowboys trailing, including one with 1:24 to play when the 5-foot-11 Forte stripped 6-foot-7 forward Georges Niang under the OSU basket and forced a foul — knocking down both free throws to cut Iowa State’s lead to one.
“He made some big defensive plays,” Ford said. “We had 9 steals, but he had two huge steals late. ... We’ve had some teams make some big plays late on us this year where we came up on the short end, I thought tonight we were on the positive end of that stick and made some plays.”
Oklahoma State also got 10 points from forward Michael Cobbins, who played the five spot for much of the game with Philip Jurick on the sideline due to Iowa State’s smaller lineup. Markel Brown cracked the double digit scoring list with his 12 points — 10 of which came in the second half — and led OSU with 8 rebounds.
Oklahoma State will now turn its focus to the Big 12 Conference’s top team — second-ranked Kansas, who is undefeated in league play. The Cowboys will head to Lawrence, Kan., for a 3 p.m. tipoff Saturday.
“We understand the challenge at hand and have got a lot of respect for Kansas, obviously,” Ford said. “I’m glad we won tonight.”