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Warriors chasing more Madness and history against Maryland in NCAA Second Round

SPOKANE, Wash. — In what essentially amounts to the most significant game in the history of the University of Hawai’i basketball program, the Warriors will take on Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament on Sunday.

Hawai’i, which is 28-5 and the No. 13 seed in the South Region, is playing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in history, following a 77-66 upset of No. 4 seed Cal on Friday for the first NCAA Tournament win in program history.

UH takes on Cal in first round action of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veteran's Arena, Spokane, WA on March 18, 2016. Photo: Brandon Flores.

Maryland, which is 26-8 and the No. 5 seed, owns 40 NCAA Tournament victories in its history, including a National Championship in 2002, and a 79-74 win over No. 12 seed South Dakota State in a first round game on Friday. The Terrapins are ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, and finished tied for third place in the Big Ten Conference.

Sunday’s game at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena is scheduled to start at 1:10 p.m. (Hawai’i time), and it will be televised nationally on TBS.

“Obviously, their balance is so good, but we just played against a very big Cal team and these guys are bigger, so we’ll have our hands full there,” Hawai’i head coach Eran Ganot said. “But one of the reasons they’re so good and, obviously, why they’re advancing to this point after having such a good season, is just their balance.”

Much like Cal, Maryland is big and all five starters average double-figure points. Unlike Cal, Maryland is considered relatively healthy, and four of the players have started every game this season.

Melo Trimble, a 6-foot-3 sophomore point guard, is averaging 14.5 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the team with a .874 free throw percentage, and has 56 3-pointers. He is one of four Terrapins with at least 50 3-pointers this season (by comparison, Hawai’i only has one player with more than 50 3-pointers).

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It makes for an intriguing matchup with Hawai’i point guard Roderick Bobbitt, a 6-3 senior who is averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. He played all 40 minutes and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the history win over Cal on Friday.

“We watched Hawai’i before we played (Friday),” Trimble said. “We saw how active on defense they were. They just play like they want to win. They wanted it more (on Friday), more than Cal wanted it. You could tell how hard they were playing on defense and the offensive side. They were executing their plays, and they were just having fun out there. And every team that has fun, they play really well.”

Bobbitt said of Maryland: “I would say they penetrate the ball a lot, try to get into the lane and create shots for others. So that’s one big thing that I took out of seeing the film of Maryland.”

There is also intrigue in the post, where Hawai’i junior Stefan Jankovic could create a difficult cover for the Maryland big men. The 6-11, 235-pound Jankovic leads the Warriors with 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and is shooting 55.7 percent from the field.

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Maryland’s two starting post players are 6-11, 255-pound freshman Diamond Stone and 6-9, 235-pound junior Robert Carter Jr. Stone is averaging 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, and is shooting 56.4 percent from the field. Carter is averaging 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and is shooting 56.2 percent from the field.

Either Stone or Carter will have to defend Jankovic, and the other will likely be matched up against Mike Thomas, a 6-7 junior who is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 51.1 percent from the field.

Ganot said of the Terps: “When you have an inside-outside attack, you surround their size with shooting, and a dynamic point guard, you will have your hands full. Obviously, one of the more efficient offensive teams in the country. When I talk about their balance, they defend as well – defend and rebound. So it will be another tall task, a great challenge, a great opportunity for our program.”

Another interesting matchup could be on the wing, where Hawai’i has dynamic 6-5 junior Aaron Valdes and Maryland has 6-9 senior Jake Layman.

Valdes is averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and is considered the Warriors’ most versatile defender. Layman is averaging 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and leads the Terps with 57 3-pointers. He scored a game-high 27 points and shot 5 for 8 from 3-point range in Maryland’s first-round win over South Dakota State.

“I think Hawai’i was playing with nothing to lose (on Friday),” Layman said. “So they played harder, played with more intensity. So I think (Sunday) we can’t let them play harder than us. We need to play our style of game and play at our tempo.”

Hawai’i senior guard Quincy Smith led the upset effort against Cal, scoring a career-high 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 7 for 8 on free throws. He is averaging 8.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

UH defeats Cal, 77-66, in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veteran's Arena, Spokane, WA on March 18, 2016. Photo: Brandon Flores.

“I think they shoot the ball really good,” Smith said of Maryland. “They shoot a high percentage from 3, and they get to the line a lot, and they shoot good free throws, too.”

Smith could match up against Maryland senior Rasheed Sulaimon, a 6-4 senior who is averaging 11.0 points and 3.6 assists per game, and leads the team with a .440 percentage from 3-point range.

Both teams have a 3-point shooter and a big man ready in reserve. Maryland’s Jared Nickens is averaging 5.6 points per game as the first guard off the bench, and has made 51 3-pointers. Damonte Dodd, a 6-11 junior, is averaging 2.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as the first big off the bench for Maryland.

Hawai’i can counter with 6-6 senior Sai Tummala, who ranks second on the team with 43 3-pointers, and leads the team with a .402 percentage from 3-point range. Stefan Jovanovic, a 6-11 junior, is averaging 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as the first big off the bench.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon noted that Hawai’i’s aggressive guard play is a concern.

“This is the kind of team that, especially early in the year, gave us fits,” Turgeon said. “Tough matchup for us, because their guard play and they’re able to stretch the floor with their big guys. As the year’s gone on, we have gotten better at guarding these teams. But with great guard play and able to stretch the ball the way Hawai’i does, it’s going to be a tough challenge for us defensively.”

Maryland averages 76.1 points per game, and is one of the most efficient shooting teams in the country. The Terps are shooting 48.9 percent overall from the field, 37.5 percent from 3-point range, and 76.5 percent from the free-throw line.

UH defeats Cal, 77-66, in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Spokane Veteran's Arena, Spokane, WA on March 18, 2016. Photo: Brandon Flores.

By comparison, Hawai’i is averaging 77.6 points per game, shooting 46.4 percent overall from the field, 32.5 percent from 3-point range, and 68.4 percent from the free-throw line.

Both teams were allowed to practice in the Spokane Arena on Saturday afternoon, and the practices were closed to the public.

The Hawai’i players said they are aware of the history already achieved, but there was no time to celebrate, or be satisfied with the accomplishment.

“Celebrate? I don’t know if we did too much,” Bobbitt said. “After the game we were pretty happy. But we know that we had to put that game behind us and focus on Maryland, who is a great team. And everybody on the island celebrated for us.”

Mike Thomas added: “Our families are here, so it’s good to spend time with them after the game and just reflect on it. But there’s a 24-hour rule that you got to follow and get rid of by 11 o’clock (Saturday) and get ready for (Sunday).”

CLICK HERE to view the official NCAA pregame press conference (note that the Hawai’i interviews start at around the 19:00 mark and end around 41:00; Maryland starts around the 1:05:00 mark)

NO 13 SEED HAWAI’I VS. NO. 5 SEED MARYLAND
What:
NCAA Tournament Second Round
Where: Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane, Wash.
When: Sunday, March 20, 1:10 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
TV: Live on TBS (Oceanic channels 551 and 1551 in Hawai’i)
Internet video: Live streaming on www.ncaa.com/march-madness-live/watch
Radio: Live on ESPN 1420 AM
Internet audio: Live on www.espn1420am.com

(Photos courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)

26 Comments

  1. Can’t wait to see the bows in action tomorrow

  2. Can’t get down big early. Hawaii has to stay close at halftime to have a chance. Maryland is the more talented team and has played a tougher schedule. The equalizer will be shooting. We have to shoot the ball better than the Terps and at the line and hope that they have a terrible shooting day. I have a feelling Sai Tummala will come up big and is due for a big game. Jankovic, if he can hit from 3 early will force Maryland’s big men to come out and hopefully we can attack the rim more. Okay, I’ll make a prediction this time. Hawaii 75, Maryland 74. On to the Sweet Sixteen and awaiting will be the #1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks. I’m looking forward to that. Wishing Coach Ganot and the team much success, luck, and continue to make history.

  3. Maryland vs UH. I am picking one of best Teams. Team first. In tournament. Warriors to win by 12. First Rainbow team to win 28 plus wins and make sweet sixteen. Why? Best backcourt in nation Q and Rod. All they care about? The Win. Warriors make to 16 field . anyone can win the big prize. Team deserves it. Great coaching legacy. Eran great first year!!
    Go Bows!!

  4. THIS WILL BE THE BOWZ 5TH GAME IN A ROW THAT IS DO OR DIE.

    If you have been following the games to date, you know that the head of officials have mandated the refs to enforce vigorously the new rules that were put into place at the beginning of the season. No arm bars on a player moving North and South or any impediments on a driver without having completely established a defending position.

    UH plays very aggressively on defense and everyone should know that the very first block/charge call will be accepted as the norm by all three officials. Make sure your picks are set and it is up the ball handler not to move the defender into them early.

    This game will come down to rebounds and free throw shooting.

    GO BOWZ…hope to see you in Louisville.

  5. I don’t care what game it is, it is a special game.

    One at a time.

    May Lady Luck be with you always!!!!!

  6. Big game calling for Bobbitt !! Melo Trimble draft express has him as the 31st pick in their mock nba draft ? Time for Bobbitt to have a 30+ game.
    Go Bows !!

  7. The priority is the Win, of course. But it would be nice.
    Go Bows !!

  8. foul trouble- hawaii’s criptonyte

    Hawaii- maryland’s criptonyte lol

    I agree Hawaii has to keep this a close game. Preferably we can get the early lead and keep maryland on their heels.

    The matchups will be interesting. I still believe in the Bows! I know that they can win!

    Just need to be solid like coach says. Help defense is going to be huge in this game because of the inside outside attack of Maryland.

    You can do this!!! Lets go Bows!!!!!

  9. Hey, Rod:

    This is the game of your life (NBA life).

    Mellow Trample and, made your TEAM 1+ Winner!!!!!

    Lucky came Hawaii.

  10. Don’t forget, these players were recruited and groomed by Gib Arnold, who also deserves credit for the successes of this program. Shame on you selected UH Regents and administrators.

  11. My friend has 2 tickets for today’s game for sale. Hit me up here and leave me your contact info. Lower level in the Hawaii section 105 row H

  12. My only wish is that the Bows play their hardest and leave everything on the court today. Regardless of the outcome I am immensely proud of this team. They already exceeded my expectations. Of course I’m hoping for a history making win to get us into the Sweet 16!

    I’ll be cheering you on and screaming in front of my tv today. Go Bows!!!

  13. Time to pull out another game like UH v Irvine @ Stan Sherriff this year. I was hoping we could save that game for Kansas, but damn, the only game that matters is NOW! We gotta WIN. And I really want to let the world know and all these pundits know that we are a TEAM! Screw the stats. We ARE a talented team. We have faced a LOT of adversity that may have affected us not playing to our full potential. What has gotten us this far is pure HEART! When we play to our athletic and physical potential…when Mike the BEAST and Aaron and Sai the shooters show up on the same day as Rod is also on fire, and Janks stops jawing with refs again and just plays within himself and stays out of foul trouble, and Q is just Q, we ARE unstoppable!

    FOCUS, BE YOUR BEST, WIN and sow the world your GREATEST SELVES!

    Go Bows! Woo hoo!!!

  14. If you’re wondering why Hawaii 3-0 is not as active on the sidelines, the team was warned to tone it down by the refs, per another board.
    To add to the videos above, here is one with Janks as the interviewer.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEhh3_cry2g

  15. Islandman, yeah, Janks said in one interview that the refs warned them a bunch of times so he was trying to calm the bench down. Good for Janks, he said he didn’t want us to get a T, but kinda BS on the refs, although I guess if they warned us as many times as Janks said and didn’t give us a T that’s pretty good.

    I

  16. Just Win Bows!!!!!!

  17. I wish someone in the national media would bring up the the fact the Hawaii is appealing the NCAA sanctions. Better yet, a story about how bogus the sanctions are in comparison to those imposed on other schools with far worse infractions.

  18. go bows!!

  19. Waving our “giant palms”! Buahahaha!

  20. Thomas does some good things and not so good things at times. Just before the end of the first half, does need to know the time element within his mind. Taking the 3 pointer with 12 seconds left with 1.5 seconds differential left from the time clock to the game clock allows Maryland to get 2 points that they should not have had.

    The team not thinking he would take the shot did not make an attempt to go for the rebound except Jankovic. On top of that a foul with few seconds left on Jankovic.

    Hope this does not come back to haunt UH.

  21. Last 10 minute mark. Watch UH up by 8 or more. UH guards will close out game. Warriors playing all out Maryland too cool. Warriors win by 10 or more. Face Kansas whom they beat before. Warriors elite eight? Yes. They no worry. Nobody respect them . officiating okay.

  22. GET HOT ‘BOWS!

    WIN The Last 10 !

    JUST WIN ‘BOWS!

  23. BELIEVE!

  24. WIN-able Game!

    Great Season ‘Bows!

    MAHALO Coach/Staff, ‘Bows, WI/Sponsors…

  25. Great season by the bows but unfortunately no offense besides Mike Thomas and though Maryland COULD of been beaten this game their length and toughness inside made it difficult for Hawaii to continue on. Ganot did very well with this talented team and hopefully keeps the momentum going getting quality recruits while improving the roster in which a deeper bench is needed especially during tournament play. One thing for sure this TEAM brought back PRIDE with former players who came out from all walk ways of life rooting for this group of players to continue this FANTASTIC run !

    Nothing to be ashamed about as hopefully Honolulu Airport is filled to capacity welcoming these warriors home as they made all of us proud winning the big west conference and tournament while advancing to the 2nd round of NCAA tournament play. An incredible season for an untypical team who reached the pinnacle of success !

    Mahalo Rainbow Warriors making me so proud once again why I chose and played for the home team!

  26. Plus SIX Rebounds (23-0 When Win the Boards Before Today)

    Plus Two Turnovers

    MD 1 for 18 Threes

    —-

    HIT THE Recruits, Staff
    WIN The Appeal
    Return The Juniors…

    GO ‘BOWS!

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