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Oklahoma State Basketball: Pokes fall in 61-57 Waco despite big game from Forte

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma State at Baylor
Jan 7, 2017; Waco, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Phil Forte III (13) dribbles around Baylor Bears forward Johnathan Motley (5) during the first half at Ferrell Center. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

As sickening as it may sound, it looks like the Baylor Bears will be the No. 1 team in the country come Monday.

Despite a resurgence from Phil Forte and a five-point halftime lead, the Oklahoma State Cowboys dropped their third straight conference game, 61-57 to Baylor in Waco today.

Forte had 17 points on 5 of 7 shooting from beyond the arc, with a good chunk of those 3-pointers coming from typical Forte range.

The rest of the team did not share Forte’s hot hand. If you take Forte out of the equation, the Pokes shot 3 of 15 (17 percent) from beyond the arc and shot 30 percent from the field.

It was evident from the start that the Pokes were not going to lay an egg like they did against Texas. It was their best performance in conference play so far, but it’s nearly impossible to beat the second-ranked team on their home court when shooting 34.5 percent from the field and 55 percent from the line.

The first half was much more enjoyable to watch than the final five minutes. The Pokes fell behind by a manageable lead in the game’s opening minutes, but weathered the early Baylor storm.

A deep Forte 3-pointer complimented by a Jeffrey Carroll breakaway dunk gave the Cowboys a 24-19 lead with 5:11 in the first half. The final five minutes were back-and-forth as the Cowboys went into the break up 30-25.

Baylor opened the second half on a 6-0 run to take a one-point, but the Cowboys responded with an eight-point run to take the lead back. Baylor followed that up with a seven-point run to tie the game at 38 with 12:22 in the second half.

The game was tight down the stretch and the Cowboys had their chances. Baylor began to pull away with a handful of minutes remaining, but the Cowboys were only down two with 37 seconds left.

But shots were not falling and the Cowboys were not making their free throws count. The effort, the hustle, the body language was all great tonight. If someone other than Forte could have made a shot, we might be looking at a different outcome.

Carroll held his own with 15 points on 5 of 9 shooting. Jawun Evans scored 8 points and led the team with 5 assists.

Let’s take a look at the final stats.

Oklahoma State Box Score
ESPN
Baylor Box Score
ESPN
Final Team Stats
ESPN

There were plenty of highlight plays from the Cowboys tonight as well.

Oklahoma State (10-5) will continue to look for their first Big 12 win on Wednesday when they host Iowa State at 8 p.m.