BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — Phil Forte hit all his free throws after getting fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left in overtime and Oklahoma State beat Akron 69-65 in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tipoff on Thursday.
Forte, who was fouled by Chauncey Gilliam, drained three free throws to put the Cowboys up 67-65.
“We kept fighting and scratching and clawing, and found a way to get the win,” said Forte, who finished with eight points.
Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart made two more free throws to complete the scoring. Smart finished with 16 points, Le’Bryan Nash had 18 and Markel Brown 17 for Oklahoma State (2-0).
Brian Walsh had 14 points for Akron (1-2) and Alex Abreau, playing for the Zips in his hometown, had 13. Zeke Marshall made a layup with 1:02 left in regulation to tie the game at 61, but missed a shot as time ran out to win it.
Forte had a mostly quiet game but came through in overtime. After getting bumped to the floor, he got up and put the Cowboys ahead to stay.
“I kept telling them during timeouts that at some point somebody was eventually going to make some big plays,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said. “We know (Forte is) going to make shots. He may miss four or five in a row, but that doesn’t bother me. That never concerns me. He’s going to make shots.”
Kansas 69, Chattanooga 55: LAWRENCE, Kan. — Freshman guard Ben McLemore had 25 points and eight rebounds, Elijah Johnson added 18 points and No. 7 Kansas used a big second-half charge to beat Chattanooga 69-55 on Thursday night.
The Jayhawks (2-1), coming off a loss Tuesday night to Michigan State, got off to a sluggish start against the Mocs, and still trailed 42-30 in the opening minutes of the second half.
Jeff Withey began their comeback with a basket inside, Johnson ripped a 3-pointer and McLemore slammed down the first of back-to-back highlight-reel dunks to trigger a 27-4 run over the next 12-plus minutes. Kansas merely had to go through the motions down the stretch to wrap up the win.