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Freshmen lead the way as Northwestern basketball rolls past Brown 63-42

Northwestern guard Dave Sobolewski (center) is helped up by teammates after making three-pointer Sunday against Brown Welsh-Ryan Arena. | Nam

Northwestern guard Dave Sobolewski (center) is helped up by teammates after making a three-pointer Sunday against Brown at Welsh-Ryan Arena. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: January 25, 2013 6:18AM

Anybody who didn’t fully comprehend the developmental component to Northwestern’s season has a deeper understanding of it after watching the Wildcats’ final preseason tuneup.

With Reggie Hearn out with a twisted right ankle, coach Bill Carmody used six freshmen in a 63-42 matinee victory Sunday against Brown at Welsh-Ryan Arena. At one point, Carmody had four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor.

‘‘We have good freshmen, very talented young guys, but they have to play,’’ Carmody said. ‘‘It takes time, but the more playing time they get in games — and different kinds of games — the better they’re going to be.”

Generating offense is going to be seasonlong problem for NU (9-4), and that will be magnified whenever Hearn and/or Tre Demps are unavailable or ineffective. With Drew Crawford out for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Hearn and Demps are the only two Wildcats who consistently can create shots for themselves.

During one stretch of nine-plus minutes in the first half, NU didn’t get a field goal from anyone other than Demps, who finished with nine points. Dave Sobolewski was the only Wildcats player in double figures, finishing with 14 points and eight assists.

‘‘All this experience they are getting now is huge for us,’’ Sobolewski said of the freshmen. ‘‘We see it every day. They’re starting to pick things up and make reads on the court.’’

‘‘It’s just dealing with an extra level of coaching for me,’’ NU freshman Kale Abrahamson said of the adjustments he has had to make. ‘‘In high school, you’re kind of the man. The coach isn’t going to say much if you make a mistake. The biggest thing for me is accepting coaching and reacting the right way when I mess up because that’s going to happen at this point.’’

Scoring wasn’t as big an issue for the Wildcats as it was for Brown (3-6). Former Loyola star Matt Sullivan, one of three Bears captains from the Chicago area, came into the game leading the Ivy League in scoring at 16 points per game but made his only field goal with 8:19 left.

Brown shot 26.9 percent in the first half and 30.6 percent overall in its first game in 15 days because of a break in the schedule that coincided with final exams. Guard Sean McGonagill, who played at Riverside-Brookfield, scored 20 points to lead the Bears.

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