STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford took a look at the Cowboys’ assist total against Robert Morris on Monday night and smiled the smile of an old point guard.
No. 6 Oklahoma State recorded 27 assists on 32 baskets in a 92-66 romp over the Colonials that served as a prep game for the Cowboys’ Big 12 Conference opener on Saturday at Kansas State. It was Oklahoma State’s highest assist total since recording 27 against Nebraska on Feb. 19, 2000.
Coming off a nine-day layoff, Phil Forte scored 20 points and Markel Brown added 18 for Oklahoma State (12-1). The Cowboys will enter 2014 with their highest ranking in The Associated Press poll since February 2005, when they were at No. 6.
“It’s a lot of fun when you see a team passing the ball like that,” Ford said. “I told our team I enjoyed watching that. It’s one of the most unselfish games I’ve seen a team play, especially when you see guys who passed up wide-open layups, wide-open dunks, to pass it off to their teammate. You don’t see that much in college basketball anymore.”
The Cowboys never trailed against Robert Morris (5-9), which posted a memorable win over Kentucky in the first round of last season’s NIT. But the Colonials of the Northeast Conference haven’t fared as well against major-conference foes this season, falling first at Kentucky before losing to Oklahoma State. A trip to Alabama is up next.
Karvel Anderson scored 16 points for Robert Morris, which is 2-8 on the road this season. The Colonials, who entered the game shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range, finished 6 of 25 (24 percent) from behind the arc.
“One of the things we’re going through is we have some new bodies who don’t understand what it takes,” Robert Morris coach Andrew Toole said.
“They’re kind of living in the name that some other guys helped build and they don’t understand what it takes to go out on the floor and play at that level. We’re trying to teach them . how to make the right decisions in any kind of environment and it’s difficult. Sometimes it’s uglier than it is pretty.”