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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | December 6, 2020

The DII Report: 9 things you may have missed this week in DII college basketball

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

The DII college basketball season is rolling. Northwest Missouri State and Drury extended their winning streaks in men's and women's basketball, respectively. Conference Carolina's teams remain hot against Division I competition. 

SCOREBOARD: DII men's basketball | DII women's basketball

There was a lot you may have missed with this the busiest week in DII sports this year yet. Sit back, relax and get caught up with your weekly DII Report.

9 things you may have missed this week (in no particular order)

1. Bearcats extend their winning streak

It's been an odd start for the No. 1 team in DII college basketball. Northwest Missouri State struggled in the first half of its season opener before putting it together with a solid second half. Game 2 was the mirror opposite. The Bearcats came out strong but had to hold off a relentless Central Missouri comeback in the second half. 

Northwest was searching for that trademark complete game, solid from start to finish. It got that on Saturday, rolling Lincoln (MO) by 30 points. Ryan Hawkins had his second-straight big game in a row with 34 points, nine rebounds and, perhaps most impressively, six 3s on ten attempts. Trevor Hudgins did Trevor Hudgins things, scoring, rebounding and dishing out assists without turning the ball over once.

The Bearcats have now won 26 in a row. They'll have two big tests in Missouri Western and Missouri Southern over the next two weeks. Northwest may have just hit its stride though, and if that's the case, watch out.

RANKINGS: Wayne Cavadi's Preseason Power 10

2. Paige Robinson has the Lady Panthers out to a 4-0 start

The Drury Lady Panthers are on fire. With all that they lost, you would think they would have a tough time making it look this easy. Drury is winning its games by nearly 30 points per game. 

That's also 36 consecutive wins for the Lady Panthers dating back to last season.

Paige Robinson has led the way. She hasn't just been good, she's been out of this world. The junior opened the season with a double-double before going off for 37 points on 63 percent shooting. She followed that up by just missing her first triple-double.

That's not to undersell her supporting cast. The Panthers are a very senior-laden team, oozing with experience. But after 25 more points and nine more rebounds in the latest Drury 23-point victory, Paige is the cog that makes the engine go. Coo coo ca choo, Ms. Robinson. 

WATCHLIST: Get to know these DII women's basketball players

3. Belmont Abbey outlasts UNC Greensboro in women's basketball

The Crusaders are off to a 1-0 start and it comes with a win over the Division I Spartans. Maria Kuhlman, Allie Downing and Brittany Autry all scored in double figures for Belmont Abbey, combining for 42 of the Crusaders 63 points. 

Belmont Abbey's defense was the story down the stretch, allowing just eight Spartan points in the fourth quarter. It allowed the Crusaders to overcome UNCG's small lead and take control. 

Conference Carolinas has been well represented on the DI circuit this year. The Crusaders are now the third team from the conference to take down DI competition, joining Southern Wesleyan and Emmanuel (Ga.).

Wait, did someone say Emmanuel?

4. Emmanuel, Flagler take down Division I foes in men's basketball

KJ Jones was simply amazing in the Lions 64-61 victory over Stetson. The sophomore guard went for 19 points with seven rebounds, eight assists and six wins. The seven rebounds tied his career-high while the assists and steals established new career-bests.  

While the Conference Carolinas has had a strong showing against DI, it isn't alone. The Flagler Saints took down Central Michigan this week behind a couple of impressive performances. Chris Metzger led all scorers with 26 points on an impressive 13-for-15 night from the field. Jalen Barr came off the bench to provide a huge spark. The sophomore swingman went 7-for-8 from the floor and recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards in just 23 minutes.

5. Missouri Southern drops a shocker to Northeastern State

The Lions dropped their second game in a row, in heartbreaking fashion nonetheless. What appeared to be the game-winner at first was ruled no good and Missouri Southern fell to 3-2 on the year.

Missouri Southern entered the season at No. 9 in our Preseason Power 10 and No. 21 in the NABC poll. Two surprising losses to Northeastern State and Lincoln (MO) could lead one to think the Lions were overrated entering the season.

That line of thinking isn't exactly fair. Look at the last game for example. The Lions shot 53.4 percent from the field, which is not only very good, but nearly 10 percent better than their opponent. They also utterly dominated the rebounding battle 42-25. As a team, through five games, those are the trends: the Lions are outshooting, outscoring and out-rebounding their foe.

They are likely the victims of an offseason like no other. Having to adjust to many new faces, despite having Cam Martin in the middle, takes time teams weren't afforded this offseason. The Lions bounced back with a big 88-82 win over Rogers State and Martin went for 30 points and seven boards. Let's see how they fare against Northwest on Dec. 17.

6. Maddie Sutton is a scoring and rebounding... a lot

It's no wonder there are two 'd's in Sutton's first name. They stand for double-double.

Tusculum's senior forward led the Pioneers with eight double-doubles last season. In 31 games. Tusculum has played in four games this season and Sutton has double-double in each and every one.

It's the third-straight season Tusculum has started out at least 4-0, and outside from a tight contest with Lincoln Memorial, the Pioneers are winning comfortably. Sutton has per game totals of 14 points and 13.3 rebounds and is clearly off to one of the best starts in DII college basketball. 

7. Wingate stuns Queens (NC)

Wingate opened the season 0-2 and has been rolling ever since. The Bulldogs have now won three in a row, most recently pulling the upset over the No. 10 team in DII men's basketball, Queens (NC).

The Bulldogs trailed by ten at the half and exploded for a 46-27 second half. Five Bulldogs finished in double figures in the 80-71 victory. Andreas Wilson provided the spark, coming off the bench to score 19 while going 4-for-6 from downtown. Wilson had four points over the first four games entering this contest. 

8. Truman tops UMSL in men's GLVC hoops

Truman toppled No. 9 Missouri-St. Louis on Saturday by a score of 81-69. Looking at the rankings, it may seem like an upset, but this was not necessarily the case. 

I told you in the preseason Power 10 that the GLVC may be the most intriguing conference to watch this season because of the incredible balance. Now 3-1 Rockhurst's opening night win over Southern Indiana and Truman's victory on Saturday showed exactly why. Any team can beat any team on any given day any week.

Any questions?

The Bulldogs received votes in the NABC preseason poll so were by no means a long shot to beat UMSL, but some may be surprised by how commanding a victory it was. Both Masen Miller and Cade McKnight had huge games for Truman, scoring 25 and 26 respectively. The Bulldogs are now 3-0 with back-to-back strong wins against UIndy and UMSL. Expect more exciting matchups with unexpected outcomes all season in this deep conference. 

9. What else impressed us?

Okay, so I'm not great at math. Here are four more quick hits on what stood out this past week.

  • If Cameron Whiteside was in the video game NBA Jam, he'd be burning down nets. The junior from UVa-Wise has scored 42 and 33 points in his first two games, shooting 57.5 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent from 3.  
  • Don't get in a rebound battle with Hillsdale's Sydney Mills. After leading the Chargers as a freshman last year in rebounding — coming off the bench, mind you — Mills has pulled down 21 and 15 boards in her first two games this season. 
  • Central Missouri women's team looks like early season contenders. The Jennies are off to a 4-0 start and have looked impressive in doing so. They are winning games by more than 17 points a night while holding opponents to a 33.5 percent field goal percentage.
  • Missouri Western's new head coach Will Martin is certainly having fun. He's 3-0 in his debut season after the Griffons posted 100-81 victory over Central Missouri Saturday. That's the first time this millennium the Griffons have started out 3-0.

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