SPOKANE, WA (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time in the program's history, the University of Hawaii men's basketball team is advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Rainbow Warriors upset fourth-seeded Cal, 77-66, in Spokane on Friday morning, propelled to victory by a superb second half by senior guard Qunicy Smith, who took over scorer's duties with forwards Stefan Jankovic and Aaron Valdes in foul trouble.
Smith, who shot 6-8 from the floor against the shorthanded Bears, led all Hawaii scorers with 19 points.
"They've got really good players, good coaches," said Smith after the game. "We wanted to be aggressive from the start,try to get on them early, and set that standard."
Senior guard Roderick Bobbitt added 17 points and a team-high 7 rebounds, and Jankovic scored 16 points despite finishing the game with four fouls.
Cal, playing without leading scorer Tyrone Wallace, who injured his hand this week in practice, struggled to find an offensive rhythm, especially after freshman Jaylen Brown joined Hawaii's Jankovic and Valdes as stars who found themselves in foul trouble.
"Really great win for Hawaii. Their guards controlled the tempo, they played with passion," said Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin. "It's fun to watch them play, so congratulations to those guys."
The Bears shot 41.1 percent from the floor, including an abysmal 15.8 percent from deep.
The Rainbow Warriors will play in the second round against 5th-seeded Maryland on Sunday.
The win generated a social media firestorm, as Hawaii fans supported their home team. The hashtag #HawaiiMBB (Hawaii men's basketball) was trending on Twitter on Friday morning.