Cowboys Win But May Have Lost Cobbins

Oklahoma State took care of business in the final non-conference game of the season Monday night after moving up to No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 earlier in the day but it may be a costly win. The Cowboys scored the first nine points against Robert Morris and were never threatened en route to a 92-66 victory. But the big question following the game is what's the status of Michael Cobbins?

Cobbins, the 6-8, 230-pound junior post player who was in the starting lineup for all 13 games for the Cowboys, hobbled off the court after playing just three minutes and went directly to the locker room with trainer Jason Miller. He did not return from the locker room until early in the second half and was wearing a protective boot on his left foot and using crutches.

"It doesn't look good. We'll wait to see more tomorrow but it doesn't look good," Cowboys head coach Travis Ford said of Cobbins, who may have suffered an Achilles injury. "As I told our basketball team, it's part of the game. I hate it for Michael, first and foremost. He's just a terrific young man, he's what's right about college athletics, and he'll bounce back.

"Any time you lose any player possibly it puts a little bit of a dent in your team. But it also gives other players an opportunity. On our team he's our starting center but it's going to give Stevie Clark an opportunity. Phil Forte an opportunity. Why? Because we'll probably have to move Le'Bryan Nash to the five spot (center), Marcus Smart some to the four spot, and those other guys are going to have to step up.

"Gary Gaskins is going to have to step up because he can physically play in the Big 12, we've just got to get him to understand everything that's going on on the scouting report and things like that. If Mike's not able to go, everybody's going to have to chip in because Mike was a very important part of this basketball team when it came to blocking shots and rebounding and understanding every single thing that I wanted. We'll ask the whole team to chip in.

"You can hold your head down and be sad for Michael but not for our basketball team."

Immediately after the game, Cowboys senior Markel Brown tweeted a message with the hashtag "#PlayforMike20".

The game against Robert Morris was OSU's final non-conference game of the season. The Cowboys prepare to open Big 12 play on Saturday. The Cowboys, 12-1, will travel to Manhattan, Kan., for the conference opener at Bramlage Coliseum against a Kansas State team that has won 7 in a row entering Tuesday night's game against George Washington.

The Cowboys took control in the first half while getting limited production out of All-American point guard Marcus Smart and Cobbins. Smart scored five points while playing just seven minutes before picking up his second foul, and Cobbins added just two points and one rebound before leaving with his injury.

Even without Smart and Cobbins, who combine to average nearly 23 points and nine rebounds a game, the Cowboys led 46-31 at halftime.

The Cowboys were led by Forte, who came off the bench to score 20 points in 21 minutes. Brown finished with 18 points (12 of those off dunks), while Brian Williams (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Kamari Murphy (10 points, 8 rebounds) also scored in double figures.

Although they shot 57 percent from the field (that happens when 11 of the 32 made field goals are dunks), the most impressive statistics to Ford was the team's 27 assists. That's the seventh month in school history and the most by a Cowboys team since 2000.

"I told our guys I enjoyed watching them play. It's enjoyable to see a team share the ball as well as they shared it," Ford said.

"There were some passes made tonight that you really don't see in college basketball, most everybody is usually so concerned about getting their own points but our guys were concerned about getting their teammates a shot or a dunk. That's exciting to see. To have 27 assists and only 12 turnovers was very much a positive, and I thought we rebounded the ball extremely well in the second half."

Freshman point guard Stevie Clark came off the bench to provide nine points and nine assists (a career best), Le'Bryan Nash contributed nine points and five rebounds, and Smart finished with seven points and eight assists (a season high) in just 19 minutes of play.


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