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Road doesn’t get easier for depleted Northwestern

Northwestern forward Jared Swopshire (12) reacts after missing basket during first half an NCAA college basketball game against IndianEvanstIll. Sunday

Northwestern forward Jared Swopshire (12) reacts after missing a basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: March 15, 2013 1:40PM

There’s always been a significant developmental component to Northwestern’s season, but with senior forward Jared Swopshire the latest player ruled out for the season, development is about all that’s left.

“It feels like ‘Survivor’ around here,” freshman Kale Abrahamson said. “I kind of said that when we lost Drew [Crawford], too. Someone is getting voted off the island daily, I guess.”

James Montgomery III, come on down. The junior walk-on from Santa Monica, Calif., hasn’t played significantly in a competitive game since he was a senior in high school. But after Swopshire underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday, there are only seven healthy scholarship players, so he can expect to play a lot as soon as Thursday, when the Wildcats visit No. 13 Ohio State.

Montgomery began his Northwestern career as a practice player for the women’s team before being invited to join Carmody’s squad.

Montgomery said he looks to senior Reggie Hearn, who was also a walk-on before earning a scholarship, for inspiration.

“Basically, he has been the scorer on the scout team this year because he can get shots off and he enjoys getting shots off,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “Now you go from a white shirt to a purple shirt. We’ll see what happens.”

Alex Olah will not play against Ohio State, either. It’s also unlikely the freshman center, who suffered a concussion in Saturday’s loss at Iowa, will be cleared in time for Sunday’s game against Illinois.

“You just have to keep going,” Carmody said. “I haven’t gotten any sympathy cards from any coaches. We’ve all been on teams where it didn’t look too good and then you beat somebody you’re not supposed to beat.”

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