Eran Ganot posted a 1-11 record in Spokane while on staff at Saint Mary's. He's now 1-0 here with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.
The 13-seed Raindbow Warriors pulled off a 77-66 upset of the 4-seed California Golden Bears with big games from three of their upperclassmen. Senior guards Quincy Smith (19 points) and Roderick Bobbitt (18 points) led the team in scoring. Both Smith and Bobbitt hail from the East Bay. Junior forward Stefan Janovic added 16 points.
Cal was paced by Jordan Matthews, who posted the game high with 23 points.
While Hawaii work through foul trouble for most of the game, the Golden Bears had to deal with two big, unexpected losses just before the game. Senior point guard Tyrone Wallace saw his collegiate career cut short when he suffered a broken hand in practice on Wednesday. He started 25 games and averaged 15.3 points this season. His absence was discussed during Thursday's press conference.
"I feel really bad for him," junior forward Jabari Bird said. "But we've got to move forward and focus on Hawaii, because they're a good team and we're ready."
Bird did not play, either, with what has been variously reported as either back spasms or an illness.
Cal still brought a ton of talent out onto the floor today and played like it, for the first seven or so minutes. With 12:29 to play in the first Sai Tummala cut the lead to one with a lay-up, one of Hawaii's 28 points in the paint — California boasted the nation's best two point percentage defense, per KenPom, entering this game. Kameron Rooks turned the ball over on the following possession, which led to a Bobbitt jumper and one point Rainbow Warriors lead.
Hawaii would never look back.
Stefan Jankovic picked up his third and fourth fouls within 20 seconds of each other, before the first TV timeout of the second half. Despite six players picking up at least three fouls, four of whom finished the game with four, the Rainbow Warriors managed this game like the veteran team they are. It's important to note that it's not just the three seniors playing for their postseason lives but the five juniors are as well.
Hawaii was given a postseason ban, effective next season. For the upperclassmen this year is their year, regardless of what class they're in.
On Sunday Rainbow Warriors will face the winner of the No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 12 South Dakota State match up.