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Hawaii studies up on Maryland after celebrating first NCAA win

Hawaii’s Roderick Bobbitt, right, and his fellow Rainbow Warriors decked Ivan Rabb, left, and California during Friday’s first-round game. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Hawaii’s Roderick Bobbitt, right, and his fellow Rainbow Warriors decked Ivan Rabb, left, and California during Friday’s first-round game. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Quincy Smith celebrated Hawaii’s first-round NCAA tournament upset with anyone who wanted to join in the fun, savoring the juiciest moments and marveling over the Rainbow Warriors’ unlikely survival in college basketball’s elite tournament.

Then he put his phone down, and the festivities were over.

“I got a lot of calls and texts, so just replying to all of those, that was my celebration,” Smith said. “We got a lot of rest last night, got a lot of rest this morning, and the coaches, they prepared us for Maryland with the film and the walk-through today in practice.”

Although 13th-seeded Hawaii just won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in program history, the Rainbow Warriors, and first-year head coach Eran Ganot, are not content by picking off just one higher seed from a so-called power conference.

Next in their sights is fifth-seeded Maryland, led by talented point guard Melo Trimble, who is just one of four Terrapins ranked in ESPN analyst Chad Ford’s top-100 NBA draft prospects. The teams will tip off at 4:10 p.m., starting Sunday’s action at the Arena.

The Terrapins, for their part, have already suffered their midmajor scare, nearly giving all of an 18-point lead back in their 79-74 victory over No. 12 seed South Dakota State on Saturday.

Trimble in particular must be wary, since Hawaii point guard Roderick Bobbitt is one of the national leaders in steals per game (2.19) after ranking third nationally in the category a year ago.

California also had a vaunted back court, albeit one depleted by injury, and it was unable to stop Hawaii guard Smith from slicing into the lane and firing one of his various runners or floaters off the glass. Big West Conference player of the year Stefan Jankovic, a sweet-shooting forward, also presents matchup problems for the Terrapins, who began the year ranked No. 3 in the AP poll.

“To me, this is the kind of team that, especially early in the year, gave us fits,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Tough matchup for us because their guard play, and they’re able to stretch the floor with their big guys.”

The Terrapins have their weapons too, and there may not be a player left in the tournament with a more imposing frame (or name) than center Diamond Stone.

The 6-foot-11, 235-pound freshman is one of five players who averages 10 or more points per game. He’s also the only member of that crew who has not scored 1,000 points in his career. Or rather, he will be assuming Robert Carter (12.6 ppg) scores three on Sunday.

Jake Layman is Maryland’s hottest player. He’s averaging 20.7 points after pouring in 27 on Friday, and has made 12 of 21 shots from behind the arc. The Terps, who have won a game in 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, boast a 40-24 March Madness record.

Hawaii has no such record of success on which to fall back. But the Rainbow Warriors have set a school record for wins, have a large and loud contingent of fans in Spokane, and have proven they can end a team’s season despite a deficit of future NBA players.

If Hawaii can do it again, Smith will have to get a new cellphone plan to handle all the celebrating.

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