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Zach Pekale | | November 22, 2020

DII basketball's opening weekend, by the numbers

Washburn sinks Fort Hays State at the buzzer on DII college basketball opening night

The long awaited return of Division II basketball has arrived. Some leagues are waiting until 2021 to take the floor while the MIAA and South Atlantic Conference have now played their first few games. From memorable debuts to breakout performances and even a buzzer-butter, here are 7 notable numbers from DII basketball's opening weekend.

2 โ€” Northeastern State basketball tipped off the new season with back-to-back wins over Northwest Missouri and Missouri Western. The significance of these wins is that the River Hawks were just 3-16 in the MIAA a year ago. Picking up two league wins at home right off the bat is a big step forward. Guards Cenia Hayes and Zaria Collins combined to average 43.5 points in those games.

3 โ€” Lincoln Memorial's Cameron Henry scored only 20-plus points in three games last year. On Saturday, the Railsplitters' defensive dynamo also handled the scoring load with Devin Whitfield out. Henry put up 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting while also knocking down 6-of-8 attempts at the free throw line as Lincoln Memorial downed Newberry 80-62.

9 โ€” Winston Dessesow came on late last year with a couple of big games for Missouri Southern basketball in the MIAA tournament. The sophomore has since earned a place in head coach Jeff Boschee's starting lineup to begin the season, making his first career start on Thursday. Dessesow poured in 21 points against Central Oklahoma, including the game-winning shot with nine seconds remaining.

MORE: 5 MIAA teams that could challenge Northwest Missouri State

21 โ€” A year ago, Catawba guard Marissa Bruce scored 31 points in her junior season with the Indians. On Saturday, she was Catawba's spark plug off the bench in a 77-63 win over Anderson. Bruce posted 21 points in a highly efficient 23 minutes played. She went 7-of-10 from the floor, burying all three of her 3-point attempts and going a perfect 4-for-4 from the stripe.

48.3 โ€” There's a hot hand and then there's what Washburn had going on Thursday night. The Ichabods were feeling it from behind the 3-point line, drilling 14 of their 29 attempts from deep โ€” a 48.3 percent clip . Washburn made the same number of shots inside the arc as they did behind it. Five different Ichabods hit a triple, led by five from Jalen Lewis, whose last make sunk Fort Hays State 80-78 at the buzzer.

56 โ€” No individual player was scoring quite like Central Oklahoma's Kelsey Johnson this week. The Bronchos forward erupted for 56 points in her first two games of the season. Johnson opened the season with a 30-point outing in a 75-74 win over Missouri Southern before piling on another 26 in UCO's 80-50 rout of Pittsburg State.

856 โ€” Would you believe it if I told you this is how many seconds it took Northwest Missouri State's Trevor Hudgins to hit a field goal in the Bearcats opener? The junior didn't score his first basket until there was 5:44 left in the first half against Rogers State. But Hudgins is the type of scorer who turns it on after just one make, which is exactly what he did. Hudgins finished with a game-high 27 points as Northwest Missouri State held off the Hilltoppers 86-78.