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Brenden Welper | | February 5, 2021

3 can't-miss games in DII men's basketball this weekend

Texas A&M-Kingsville Athletics Texas A&M-Kingsville men's basketball On Feb. 4, No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville erased a 27-point deficit to defeat No. 25 St. Edward's for its 10th-straight win.

We packed this list with top-25 battles, rematches and in-conference clashes. Here are three games you can't miss in DII men's basketball this weekend.

Records and statistics are through Feb. 4.

No. 9 Colorado Mesa (12-1) at South Dakota Mines (7-5) | 9:30 p.m ET on Friday, Feb. 5

After suffering its first loss of the season, No. 9 Colorado Mesa bounced back with a 63-60 win over Westminster (UT) on Feb. 2. If that seems like a close call for a 12-1 team, don't worry. The Mavericks have done well in tight games this year. Their last three victories have all been by three points or fewer, which only adds to the intrigue of this matchup.

Colorado Mesa is 8-1 in games decided by single digits this season. South Dakota Mines isn't far behind at 6-0. The Hardrockers, whose first seven games were on the road, are also 4-0 at home. Granted, home-court advantage isn't the same during a pandemic. But the Mavericks' only loss came on the road at Western Colorado. 

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Home or away, both teams have well-balanced offensive attacks. The Mavericks and Hardrockers each have four players with double-digit scoring averages. Colorado Mesa is led by Ethan Menzies' 15.9 points per game on 59.9 percent shooting. South Dakota Mines' leading scorer, Wilfred Dickson, is averaging 13.5 points on 46.6 percent shooting. 

No. 6 Findlay (12-1) at No. 12 Hillsdale (12-1) | 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 6

Here's what happened the last time these teams met on Jan. 2.

Tommy Schmock's half-court buzzer-beater gave then-No. 10 Findlay a 65-68 victory over then-No. 23 Hillsdale. It remains the Chargers' only loss of the season. They've won nine straight since that night. But the Oilers are also on a winning streak, having won their last six. One of those runs will come to an end in this top-15 showdown.

Hillsdale enters with the third-best scoring defense in DII. The Chargers are allowing just 60.8 points per game. Findlay will counter with an offense that's producing 79.8 points per game on 48.9 percent shooting. In the first meeting between these two, the Oilers overcame a 12-point halftime deficit and outscored the Chargers 45-30 in the final 20 minutes.

While both clubs have three starters averaging more than 10 points per game, this contest could be decided by the reserves. That's what happened on Jan. 2. Findlay's boost came from 31 bench points compared to just 10 for Hillsdale. Oilers' guard Ethan Linder scored 15 points in 22 minutes to help bolster the comeback.

No. 25 St. Edward's (8-4) vs. No. 14 Texas A&M-Kingsville (12-1) | 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, Feb. 6

It's been a good week for Texas A&M-Kingsville. On Tuesday, the Javelinas rose eight spots to No. 14 in the latest NABC Coaches poll. On Thursday, they held off No. 25 St. Edwards, 86-83, for their 10th straight win. But the work week isn't over yet. It'll resume Saturday with another game against those pesky Hilltoppers. 

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In the opener of this home-and-home series, St. Edward's shot 70.4 percent in the first half and led 45-35 at the break. Texas A&M-Kingsville, which trailed by as many as 27, responded with a 51-38 advantage in the second. Still, it wasn't until the closing moments when the Javelinas regained the lead on a pair of free throws from Jordan Wilson (23 points, 10 rebounds). The Hilltoppers went scoreless for the final 2:39.

Saturday's battle should be just as thrilling. Four Javelinas finished in double figures, while Hilltoppers' guard Daniel Venzant posted a game-high 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting and played all 40 minutes. A day in between games couldn't have come at a better time. St. Edward's will need its second-leading scorer well-rested as it tries to end a three-game skid.