- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Phil Forte found his shooting stroke right before Oklahoma State opens Big 12 play.

The senior guard scored 19 points to help Oklahoma State defeat Texas A&M-Corpus-Christi; 92-70 on Thursday afternoon.

Forte, one of the top 3-point shooters in Oklahoma State history, made 5 of 10 3s for the Cowboys. He had made just 13 of 62 shots overall and 10 of 41 3-pointers in the previous seven games combined.

“They are always telling me to keep shooting, whether shots are falling or not,” Forte said. “The coaches have always been supportive of me. When I’m out there on the court, it’s more for them. I want to make the shots for them because they are putting me in the right positions.”

Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood said he was never worried, though he joked with Forte about his struggles.

“I got mad at him one day,” he said. “I’m tired of watching you miss shots when I know how hard you work.”

Jeffrey Carroll scored 13 points, Lindy Waters had 12 and Mitchell Solomon added eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds off the bench for Oklahoma State (10-2).

Solomon had 11 boards in 12 minutes in the first half to set the career high by the break.

“The coaches challenged us to go to the boards real heavy today, so that’s what I did,” Solomon said. “I was just going every time, and the ball just came to me.”

Ehab Amin scored 23 points and Rashawn Thomas added 15 for the Islanders (7-4).

The Cowboys outscored the Islanders 18-5 from the free-throw line and forced 21 turnovers in their final non-conference game.

BIG PICTURE

Corpus-Christi got a solid test before entering conference play. The Islanders were coming off a loss to No. 19 Saint Mary’s, so they have played a high level of competition. They also have a loss to Texas A&M.;

Oklahoma State could work its way into the Top 25 after this win. The Cowboys were 30th in votes in this week’s poll. They have wins over Connecticut, Georgetown, Tulsa and Wichita State. Their only losses are to North Carolina and Maryland.

STAT LINES

Jawun Evans, who entered the game averaging 21.6 points per game, scored just six points in 17 minutes and was limited because of foul trouble.

“I’m really proud of them, 20-plus-point win, against a seven-win team at this point, and he’s a non-factor,” Underwood said.

QUOTABLE

Underwood on Solomon’s performance: “Mitchell Solomon had maybe the most dominant half I’ve seen in a long time for a guy that scored two. Just an absolute one-man wrecking crew on the glass.”

UP NEXT

Texas A&M-Corpus; Christi will open Southland Conference play Dec. 31 against New Orleans.

Oklahoma State opens Big 12 play Dec. 30 against No. 11 West Virginia. Underwood was an assistant under West Virginia coach Bob Huggins at Kansas State.

___

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.


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