By Dave Skretta
The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Phil Forte hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left and No. 14 Oklahoma State survived after blowing a 20-point lead to beat Pierre Jackson and Baylor 74-72 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament Thursday night.
Marcus Smart scored 21 points and LeBryan Nash had 14 for the Cowboys (24-7), who built a big first-half lead and then watched it all disappear as the Bears (18-14) desperately fought back.
Jackson, who finished with 31 points, got a good look at a potential winning 3-pointer after Forte’s two free throws. Racing up the sideline, he pulled up from the wing and let go a shot that clanked off the back iron as the backboard lit up to signal the end of the game.
The Cowboys advanced to play No. 11 Kansas State in the semifinals, a rematch of a game won by Oklahoma State last Saturday.
Baylor struggled to shoot in the first half, but Jackson got on a roll and scored 24 points over the final 20 minutes. His 3-pointer with 38.5 seconds left got Baylor within 68-67.
Forte, a 91-percent foul shooter, made two for the Cowboys, and Jackson was fouled at the other end but could only make the first of two free throws for Oklahoma State.
Baylor was forced to foul again, and this time it was Smart who made two free throws.
The Bears came charging down the floor and got the ball to Gary Franklin in the corner in front of his bench. He let go of a 3-pointer and was fouled by Forte, and the ball splashed through the net. Franklin’s free throw knotted the game with 19.1 seconds remaining.
The Cowboys waited for time to draw down on the game clock, and Forte came loose off a screen and gathered a pass in the lane. He was bumped by the Bears’ Deuce Bello with 2.9 seconds left, calmly stepped to the foul line and atoned for his foul at the other end.
Forte finished with 14 points, Markel Brown added 11 and Michael Cobbins 10 for the Cowboys.
No. 7 Kansas 91, Texas Tech 63: Ben McLemore scored 24 points to lead Kansas to a rout of Texas Tech, setting up an intriguing date with Iowa State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
The regular-season co-champion, Kansas was pushed by Texas Tech in their meeting in Lubbock earlier this season, but used a big run early in the second half to put this one away early.
The Jayhawks (27-5) shot 66 percent from the field (31 of 47), the best mark by any team in a Big 12 tournament game. Dejan Kravic scored 20 points and Dusty Hannahs added 15 for the Red Raiders (11-20).
No. 11 Kansas St. 66, Texas 49: Rodney McGruder scored 24 points and sparked an 11-0 run in the second half, lifting Kansas State past Texas in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
McGruder also had a team-leading seven rebounds as the second-seeded Wildcats (26-6) whipped the Longhorns for the third time this year.
Julien Lewis scored 13 points and Jonathan Holmes had 10 for Texas.
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