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Northwestern men’s basketball wins ugly in first game without ailing Crawford

Northwestern's Reggie Hearn (11) shoots against Texas State's Wesley Davis (10) Reid Koenen (3) first half an NCAA college basketball

Northwestern's Reggie Hearn (11) shoots against Texas State's Wesley Davis (10) and Reid Koenen (3) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

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Updated: January 19, 2013 6:24AM



If defeating Texas State at home is this much of a struggle for Northwestern, what can the Wildcats expect when the Big Ten ­season arrives?

The game Monday at Welsh-Ryan Arena was about moving on without leading scorer Drew Crawford, who will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will miss the rest of the season.

If NU’s come-from-behind 74-68 victory was any indication, it won’t be easy.

The Wildcats (8-3) finished the game on a 12-0 run despite making only one field goal in the final 111/2 minutes of regulation. They came from behind despite missing nine free throws in the final 5:18 against the Bobcats (4-7).

‘‘We were very fortunate to get out with a win,’’ NU coach Bill Carmody said. ‘‘Exams showed up a little bit but also the fact that we have a lot of inexperienced guys out there. We’ve been trying for a couple of days to have different lineups, but you never really know until you get them out there.’’

Strangely enough, the play that changed the momentum was a resounding dunk by Corey Stern that gave Texas State a 68-62 lead with 3:31 left. Stern was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim, and the Wildcats’ Jared Swopshire split two free throws to begin the 12-0 run that ended the game.

‘‘What was a big momentum play for them ended up being a big momentum play for us,’’ NU guard Reggie Hearn said.

Dave Sobolewski led the Wildcats with 18 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:45 left. It was the Wildcats’ 12th three-pointer of the game, gave them a 70-68 lead and snapped a seemingly endless scoring drought in the second half.

Hearn added 15 points, Tre Demps 12 and Swopshire 10 for NU, but Demps left the game in the second half with a twisted ankle, the severity of which wasn’t immediately known.

If freshman Kale Abrahamson was intimidated in his first game filling in for Crawford, he sure didn’t show it. Abrahamson made a three-pointer on the first possession of his first career start and finished with nine points.

Sanjay Lumpkin saw his first playing time since logging one minute against TCU on Nov. 23. Lumpkin, another freshman, was impressive during preseason practices before being sidelined with mononucleosis.

‘‘The freshmen are still kind of trying to figure things out a little bit,’’ Sobolewski said. ‘‘There’s a difference between when the freshmen are in there and when the older guys are in there. But it’s great they’re getting these minutes because soon enough you won’t see the difference.’’

Joel Wright and Wesley Davis each scored 19 points for Texas State.



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