As of 12:00pm EST on Friday, November 11th, college basketball was officially back!
A slew of games headlined the slate on opening day, with several big-time match-ups taking place across the country.
We saw some monumental upsets (Wagner Seahawks), some programs notching their first wins against certain power conferences (Albany Great Danes), and several teams hold down their home courts against high quality opponents to bolster potential NCAA Tournament resumes.
There were also a plethora of big-time individual performaces across the country. New this season, we will be identifying our Three Stars after each night’s games.
These are open for debate, as everyone can make the case for certain players across the country.
Here are the College Court Report Three Stars for November 11th, 2016.
First Star: Caleb Swanigan (Purdue Boilermakers)
Stat Line: 23 points, 20 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block
Following last season, it was unclear whether or not Caleb Swanigan would return to Purdue for his sophomore season. After an under-whelming freshman campaign, Swanigan declared for the 2016 NBA Draft early.
After going through the pre-draft process, he opted to return to Purdue for at least one more year. It was a decision that many felt was the right one for his career, and he showed everyone why he’s one of the best forwards in the country on opening night.
Against the McNeese State Cowboys in the Boilermakers’ first game of the 2016-17 season, Swanigan was flexing his muscle from tip-off. In Purdue’s 109-65 rout of the Cowboys, Swanigan scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down 20 rebounds, while also dishing out 6 assists.
Swanigan gives Purdue one of the top front courts in the Big Ten, and nationwide, alongside Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards. One can expect more of these performances as the season gets rolling.
Second Star: Reid Travis (Stanford Cardinal)
Stat Line: 24 points (career-high), 17 rebounds, 7-of-13 shooting
After scoring in double-figures in seven of the first eight games of the 2015-16 seaso, Reid Travis was in position for a big year with the Cardinal. Unfortunately, he only played those eight games, missing the rest of the season due to injury.
Now that he’s back healthy, he’s looking to pick up where he left off in 2016-17. In the Cardinal’s opener against the Harvard Crimson, Travis showed why he’s one of the Pac-12’s top forwards.
Travis scored a career-high 24 points, on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead Stanford to the 80-70 win over the Crimson.
If this is an indication of what Stanford fans can expect over the course of the 2016-17 season, they’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Third Star: Ethan Telfair (Idaho State Bengals)
Stat Line: 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists (1st career triple-double)
The Idaho State Bengals have themselves a star in senior guard Ethan Telfair, and he had his talents on full display inside one of the nation’s toughest venues for road teams to have any success.
Taking on the New Mexico Lobos inside WisePies Arena, better known as The Pit, the Bengals had their hands full with Elijah Brown and company. But, they weren’t going to go down without a fight, taking a 6-point lead into halftime before ultimately falling 81-70 on opening night.
Telfair did everything he could to lead his team to the win. He recorded 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists on the night for his first career triple-double in the loss. Telfair also recorded 6 steals for a well-rounded performance.
Following the loss, Telfair took to Twitter to say that he’d “trade that triple-double in for a win in The Pit.” This is exactly the type of player you want leading your team, one who plays for the name on the front of the jersey as opposed to the one on the back.
Joe Cremo (Albany Great Danes): 22 pts, 10 reb, 5 ast
Jock Landale (Saint Mary’s Gaels): 33 pts, 9 reb, 1 ast
Lonzo Ball (UCLA Bruins): 19 pts, 8 reb, 11 ast
– T. Bennett