Hawaii won its first NCAA Tournament game in school history, when the No. 13 Warriors ended fourth-seeded California’s tumultuous week with a 77-66 upset victory Friday in the first round of the South Regional.
The Golden Bears’ played without popular assistant coach Yann Hufnagel, dismissed amid allegations of sexual harassment, and the loss of leading scorer Tyrone Wallace, who broke his hand Wednesday in practice. As if the Bears (23-11) needed more obstacles, guard Jabari Bird had back spasms during warmups and never played.
Quincy Smith scored a career-high with 19 points, Roderick Bobbitt had 17 points and Stefan Jankovic 16 for the champions of the Big West Conference regular season and tournament. Hawaii (28-5) used a strong first half from Jankovic to lead by as many as 11, then withstood Jankovic’s foul trouble in the second half thanks largely to Smith.
Smith scored 11 points in the second half and keyed Hawaii’s surge midway through after California had pulled within one.