“It's something the coaches have been talking to the bigs about, have different aspects to your game,” Cobbins said. “Don't just back down and shoot the hook, but also face up and jab them off you, get a little space so you can get your jumper off, too.
“It makes the defender respect me. It can leaver other people open. If you hit that shot, other teams will respect it and they'll play their defense a little different.”
Cobbins made that happen against the Jayhawks, drawing KU center Jeff Withey away from the basket and even hitting one shot over him.
The Cowboys couldn't have pulled off their most meaningful win in years without the scoring and leadership of Brown and Smart. But they'd have been in trouble, too, minus Cobbins' quiet performance: eight points, eight rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals in a season-high 35 minutes.
“We had some incredible individual performances,” Ford said, “but Michael Cobbins I thought just competed the whole game and made a lot of big plays, from blocking shots to rebounding to putbacks to screening.”
OSU's cast is expanding. Brown, Smart, Le'Bryan Nash and reserve guard Phil Forte all average double figures in scoring. Philip Jurick leads the team in rebounding. Brian Williams, a former starter, has just returned from injury.
And here comes Cobbins.
“Mike's a good player,” Brown said. “He got injured, slowed down a little bit. But I think he's picking it back up again. Coach put him back in the lineup and I think picked up his confidence.
“Now he's starting to do the things that we need for us to win.”