Northwestern 99, Robert Morris (IL) 48: An Exhibition Signifying Almost Nothing

As you could probably gather from the final score, Northwestern dominated from start to finish. The last three years, Robert Morris has been competitive in these exhibitions, even winning in 2008, but tonight they were horrendous, shooting just 2 of 32 from three point range and just looking completely incompetent throughout.

The big story tonight in Northwestern basketball was who didn't play. Drew Crawford, Alex Marcotullio and JerShon Cobb all sat out with injuries. Crawford and Marcotullio both have sprained ankles, while Cobb still isn't fully recovered from off-season hip surgery. After the game, Carmody said he's hopeful all three will be able to play Sunday in the first real game against Texas-Pan American.

Needless to say, all these injuries are bad news. Obviously their severity is unclear, but with Northwestern's limited depth, they need everyone at 100% as soon as possible. NU should be able to handle UTPA on Sunday without them, but next Thursday when the Charleston Classic starts against LSU, a full roster will probably be necessary.

Onto the actual game...

- Freshmen Tre Demps and David Sobolewski both started, and both played well. Demps had 13 points, hit 3 out of 4 threes, and had one filthy step back 15 footer in the first half. He also forced up a couple of terrible shots and was bit out of control at times, but he showed some promise. Sobolewski had 15 points, hit all three of his field goals, and got to the line several times attacking the basket. He also seemed quite poised and in control throughout the night with the ball. He seems like a pure point guard while Demps is more a scorer; the two should complement each other nicely.

- Luka Mirkovic seemed a little more nimble, but still pretty damn slow. Generally looks like the same player, except he shaved his head and lost the face mask. Davide Curletti also looked like the same guy as last year, showing occasional flashes of solid offensive play but continuing his maddening tendency of unforced turnovers.

- Freshman Mike Turner is not ready for Big Ten basketball in any way, shape or form and would probably be best off red-shirting.

- Reggie Hearn started and looked much better than I remember from last year. I actually think he could maybe play 5 or so real minutes against a legitimate opponent in the event of foul trouble and it wouldn't be a complete disaster, which is a great step forward for a walk-on.

- Nick Fruendt led all scorers with a very quiet 17 points. Fruendt provided the occasional contribution last year off the bench when guys were hurt, that will probably continue this year.

- John Shurna played the first half only, scored 12 points, and seemed like his usual self. We already knew he was good at basketball, not much to say here.

- And finally, walk on James Montgomery III managed 2 blocked shots in his 8 minutes, to the delight of the few hundred people in the stands.

It's hard to read much at all into this game, as Rodger said earlier, exhibition games don't matter at all, and even less so against horrifically bad competition like NU faced tonight. The bottom line is that NU needs everyone healthy to compete in the Big Ten, so hopefully Crawford, Cobb and Marcotullio will be ready to go soon.

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