Charles Barkley picks Kent State over UCLA because of LaVar Ball

Charles Barkley picks Kent State over UCLA because of LaVar Ball

Thomas Welsh was killer with his short and mid-range shots which led to his 16 points. Isaac Hamilton added 14 points.

TJ Leaf had 23 points and six rebounds for UCLA. Edwin was at 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Ball played with tape on his sprained left thumb and Leaf wore a brace on his sprained left ankle, but neither seemed to be bothered by their injuries.

For more than 30 minutes Friday night, UCLA appeared in danger of a first this season: a bad loss. Leaf threw down a soaring dunk on a feed from Holiday to put the Bruins up 31-15 later in the first half.

"Not the players. I love Steve Alford". "I thought they were really good".

UCLA shot 60.6 percent for the half while holding Kent State to just 37.5 percent.

The defense, missing its anchor, was consistently attacked inside while the Golden Flashes continued to shoot well from the three-point line.

Ball, the star freshman point guard, finished with 15 points despite hobbling through the second half with a bruised right hip. When Ball arrived with so much fanfare, the younger Alford ended up finishing second on the team in scoring at 15.6 points per game while shooting 46 per cent from 3-point range.

"I'm fine", Ball said afterward. "I mean listen, once I found out he averaged two points a game". "So I'm excited. I can't wait until we can tip this thing and get this tournament underway because this is what he's been built for".

"I got bitter anger and animosity toward certain people affiliated", Barkley said.

Whether Kent State wins or loses tonight, students are just excited to be watching the team play and experience the hype with their friends and other students. Aaron has scored more and has been taking over games briefly but he has never been as good as a point. Kent State was the No. 6 seed in its conference championship, and went on to beat Central Michigan in overtime, and squeaked out three in a row against the conference's top three seeds.

"We had our chances, didn't start the game very well but battled back", Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. "We'll play someone good, no matter where we're seeded".

- UCLA is trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.

Alford penned an apology letter to Bruins fans and returned a one-year contract extension signed after his first season. In all, the late run pulled the Flashes to just an eight point deficit at 47-39 against the #3 seed in the South Regional.

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