The first obstacle that UCLA needed to overcome was the Kent State Golden Flashes. That leaves the performance of the superstar, Lonzo Ball, and quite frankly it wasn't too great.
The Kent State Golden Flashes were dismissed by many critics heading into the Mid-American Conference Tournament after dropping the regular-season finale against the Akron Zips and falling to the No. 6 seed, where it required an additional game over a six-day span. He finally got back on the board with 10:40 remaining and finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in a 97-80 win.
Ball suffered the injury while attempting to catch a pass in midair and getting his legs cut under him. This in turn led to Ball falling hard on the court, slamming his hip on the hardwood.
At that point, Ball had already provided a glimpse of why he is expected to be a top-five National Basketball Association draft pick, finishing another alley-oop and a layup on which he cradled the ball in his right arm and flipped it into the basket while being fouled.
Despite Les' experience and past success as a lower seed against the Jayhawks, the tired Aggies began to fade midway through the first half against a rested Kansas team. He shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range against Arizona and is a combined 5-for-25 from beyond the arc in the past three games, a trend that can't continue if UCLA hopes for another deep run. He was electric early, helping to push the Bruins to an early 15-point lead at about the 13-minute mark. The Bearcats held teams to a.385 field goal percentage this season, which was good enough for the third-best of March Madness teams.
It's no shock that Kent State was able to hurt UCLA on the offensive glass.
Cincinnati practically handled eleventh seeded Kansas State easily. So they will need to bring their "A" game. The Flashes can't keep pace with the Bruins and UCLA will be eager to put on a show following a loss to Arizona. Join the LA Sports Hub team!
Outside of Ball, there's TJ Leaf, another player expected to be a high first-round pick in the draft.
Ball surpassed Larry Drew II to become UCLA's single-season all-time leader in assists when he found Aaron Holiday for a layup midway through the second half that gave the Bruins a 63-53 lead.
"I've been really excited to play for a while now, been itching to play for about a week and a half, so just coming out there today felt really good to get back out there with the guys", Jackson said.