Warriors stun Cal, 77-66, in NCAA First Round
SPOKANE, Wash. — Quincy Smith scored 19 points and grabbed three rebounds, Roderick Bobbitt added 17 points, seven boards and four assists, and Stefan Jankovic finished with 16 points and five rebounds today to help Hawai’i stun California, 77-66, for the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory ever.
The Rainbow Warriors, seeded No. 14 in the South Region, improved to a school record 28-5 and advanced to Sunday’s second-round game against the No. 5 seed Maryland, at a time still to be determined. Cal, the No. 4 seed, ends its season at 23-11.
Maryland (26-8) defeated South Dakota State, 79-74, in another first-round game.
UH is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2002; it had lost in all four previous first-round games.
Hawai’i opened up a 47-37 lead five minutes into the second half, but Jankovic also picked up his fourth foul and was sent to the bench by that point. Cal capitalized by responding with a 9-0 run culminating in Kameron Rooks’ three-point play with 11:56 remaining.
But the Rainbow Warriors weathered the storm, later using a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 64-53 on Mike Thomas’ 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Hawai’i led 36-30 at halftime, despite early foul trouble.
Bobbitt scored the game’s first basket on a runner from the left side, but Cal used an 8-2 run to lead 8-4 after point guard Sam Singer’s layup with 15:50 remaining in the half. The Rainbow Warriors took the lead back at 14-13 on Bobbitt’s floater with 11:40 left, and later stretched it to 27-20 on Smith’s high-arching mid-range jumper with 6:50 remaining.
After Smith hit two free throws to make it 29-22 with 6:04 left, the Golden Bears went on an 8-2 run to close it to 31-30 on Ivan Rabb’s putback at the 1:26 mark. Sai Tummala then rattled in a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:13 remaining, and Bobbitt swished a jumper with 10 seconds left to make it 36-30.
Rooks appeared to drop in a layup at the halftime buzzer, which would have cut the deficit to 36-32, but it was waved off after the officials reviewed the play at a courtside TV monitor and ruled the ball was still in his hand when the horn sounded.
Jankovic, Smith, Tummala, Aaron Valdes and Mike Thomas each drew two fouls in the first half, and Cal was 11 of 16 from the free throw line, compared to 6 of 9 for UH. The Golden Bears also out-rebounded Hawai’i, 18-13, but shot only 39 percent from the field, including 1 for 9 from 3-point range.
The Rainbow Warriors shot 51.9 percent (14 of 27) from the field.
More details, including video highlights and interviews, will be posted later.
(Game photo courtesy Brandon Flores / www.brandonfloresphotography.com)
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