SPOKANE, WA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii's historic run into the NCAA tournament has come to an end in Spokane, Washington.
Two days after winning their first NCAA tournament game in school history, the Rainbow Warriors fell to the University of Maryland 73-60 on Sunday to end any hope of the program's first-ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
"We fought to the end," said an emotional Eran Ganot afterwards. "This group's got a lot of fight, just very proud of them for what they have done. It's hard, I don't get to coach them again. But it's a great group to coach."
After leading by just one at halftime, Maryland upped the defensive ante on the 'Bows after the break, holding UH to just 32.9 percent shooting (23-70) on the afternoon. Hawaii was plagued by a poor shooting streak in the second frame that saw them make just one basket in 17 attempts.
"I'll give credit to Maryland's defense," said Big West Player of the Year Stefan Jankovic who finished with 14 points on 5-17 shooting from the floor. "It was tough, but we didn't make shots that we were supposed to make. We missed a lot of layups, a lot of easy put backs, we didn't make shots."
Junior forward Mike Thomas held Hawaii together on a night that saw offensive struggles for most of the team's top scorers; his 19 points and 11 rebounds were both team-high's for the Rainbow Warriors.
"I think I just wanted to be aggressive today and try to help my team win the game," said Thomas of his second career double-double. "To be honest, it wasn't anything different or anything out of sorts, it was just trying to be aggressive and win."
Quincy Smith added 11 for the 'Bows, who didn't score anyone else in double-figures.
Sophomore guard Melo Trimble scored a game-high 24 points for the Terrapins.
Though win number 29 -- and the trip to Louisville that would have accompanied it -- was the goal this afternoon, the Rainbow Warriors will return to Hawaii having notched 28 wins on the year, a single-season team record.
"Through adversity in past years, it's pretty dang impressive," said Ganot. "They should be celebrated, and I know Hawaii and -- that's what I told our guys, the state of Hawaii is very proud of them. Because at the end of the day their job is to influence people in a positive way, and they certainly did that. Kids look up to in the community over there as morale's high because of them, because of the effort they put in, and the performance and the manner in which they performed."