Hawaii sent California home early, downing the short-handed Bears on Friday in the first round with a 77-66 win. It was a disappointing end to a strong season from Cuonzo Martin’s group, but the team on the floor at the end of the game had a much different makeup than the group that led the way in many of the team’s 23 wins.
Senior point guard and leading scorer Tyrone Wallace was ruled out for the entire NCAA Tournament after suffering a hand injury in practice and star freshman Jaylen Brown was sidelined for many key parts of the game because of foul trouble. The result was a disjointed Cal offense that wasted too many possessions to ever fully recover from a six-point halftime deficit.
Hawaii, however, gets to celebrate its first-ever NCAA Tournament win with the upset. The Rainbow Warriors were 0-4 prior to Friday making its first appearance in the Big Dance since 2002. Strong shooting and a timely performance from Quincy Smith, a single-digit scorer who finished with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting, helped advance Hawaii to the second round, awaiting the winner of Maryland and South Dakota State.
Cal’s loss drops the Pac-12 to 1-5 in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.