Four players in double figures, but Marcus Smart was NOT one of them. Neither was Nash.
Forte poured in 20 off the bench, including 5-8 behind the arc (one of those WAAAYYYY behind the arc) to go along with an assortment of Markel Brown fast break and alley oop dunks as the Cowboys stepped on the neck of Robert Morris to start the second half.
Brown was 0-4 from deep, but he was 7-9 from inside the arc. The rest of the team was 9-16 from three point land.
Brian Williams contributed a nice outing, going 5-6 from the field and hitting both FT attempts.
All in all an expected outcome over a team that took care of Kentucky in the NIT last season.
I do have two problems with this performance, however.
First...70.5%. That was OSU's FT % for the night, which was below the season avg of 71.5. Only three players are shooting over 75% from the line, and only one of them is in the top 3 in FT attempts on the team (Brown, 80.6%). This will be a problem unless Smart and Nash improve as the Big 12 season gets underway.
Second...13. That was the # of turnovers for the Cowboys, which is one less than their season average of 14 (13.9) per game. Many of these were of the undisciplined, silly type, with players out of control or trying to show off while OSU sported a large lead. This won't do in crunch time or the dance. Better teams will take advantage of the potential momentum swings. I thought Travis Ford showed appropriate impatience with this play, as he called several quick time outs after such plays resulted in easy points for Robert Morris.
The biggest news of the night, though, came when Michael Cobbins limped off the floor and eventually to the locker room. He later appeared in a boot, and Travis Ford referred to his injury in the post game presser as "doesn't look good." Cobbins has been nursing a sore achilles for most of this season, so the speculation is predictably in that area. This would be a huge blow for the Cowboys if Murphy and Gaskins aren't able to step up. Notice I didn't mention Soucek, who would be the odd man out in a rotation of very athletic players.
The big bright spot...Stevie Clark. He went 3-4 from deep and handed out 9 assists, which is third highest for a freshman at OSU. I've mentioned and spoken of this before as probably the biggest development this season for the Cowboys. Smart ran out of gas last season as Gardner was not able to provide adequate bench support to allow for valuable minutes of rest. Clark's progress could be THE key for OSU's potential late season run.
Now it's time for Big 12 play, and the Cowboys open up on the road in Manhattan at 4pm eastern this Saturday on ESPNU. Thank goodness Bill Snyder is NOT coaching hoops...
OSU follows that up with their conference home opener against Texas at 9pm eastern, again on ESPNU, on the following Wednesday.
This will be a good chance for a solid start to Big 12 play for Ford's crew, so let's hope they don't decide to (like the football team) get a bad loss out of the way early.