Phil Forte scored 13 points in the second half Monday night to lead Oklahoma State to a 66-53 victory over Oregon State in the opening game of the MGM Grand Main Event.The Cowboys (5-0) will meet the winner of the tournament's second game between Auburn and Tulsa for the championship Wednesday night.
Forte, Oklahoma State's leading scorer, made just one of his first five shots but then came on strong in the final half, finishing with 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting. His steal and drive with 5:03 left in regulation gave the Cowboys a double-digit lead, 55-45, and they coasted to the finish.
Le'Bryan Nash led Oklahoma State with 19 points, although he was plagued by foul trouble in the second half. Jeffrey Carroll added 13, and Anthony Hickey had 12.
Victor Robbins led the Beavers (3-1) with 16 points.
The Cowboys had to overcome a seven-point deficit in the first half, but finished with a rush, outscoring Oregon State 21-8 over the final 11 minutes to lead 30-24 at the break.
Oklahoma State missed seven shots in a row at one point, but then seemed to find a rhythm against the Beavers' zone defense, making seven of its last nine shots in the first half. Carroll had two three-pointers, giving him 11 points.
Carroll and Nash combined to make 8 of 12 baskets, but the rest of the Cowboys were just 2 of 10 from the floor.
Victor Robbins led the Beavers at the half with eight points.