FULLERTON, Calif. >> The Hawaii basketball team’s 2017-18 season has officially come to an end with a decision by the school administration and head coach Eran Ganot not to participate in a secondary postseason tournament.
UH (17-13) lost a 68-67 heartbreaker to UC Irvine in the Big West tournament first round on Thursday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Rainbow Warriors were unable to hold on to a 10-point lead with four minutes left and lost on Max Hazzard’s jumper with 5.5 seconds left.
Hawaii participated in the pay-to-play CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2011 and 2013. Teams pay upward of $40,000 per round to host a game; UH hosted all three of its games in its previous appearances.
Cumulative late-season injuries and concern about depth were also factors in deciding not to accept a recent invitation from the CIT.
“For this year, we decided to pass on the opportunity,” athletic director David Matlin said after meeting with Ganot.
Said Ganot at the team hotel: “I talked to our seniors. I talked to our admin as well. Look, we always talk about student-athlete welfare. I couldn’t be prouder of our guys, but also what they were fighting through.”
UH players are in the process of flying home while most of the coaching staff will remain on the mainland to recruit for the coming season.