He didn't, and Goloman fed Holiday, who converted for a 10-point lead that could have been six. But it was clear the pain from the fall was bothering him, and he wasn't his typical self as the Bruins struggled to put away Kent State before coming out on top. Ball also scored 15 points and broke UCLA's single-season assist record. Jalin Avery and Danny Pippen were the only other Flashes to score at all with 5 and 2 points respectively.
Ball's injury could be another blow to third-seeded UCLA's already short roster. They are returning after losing in the first round to Saint Joseph's University in 2016.
Cincinnati will be defending UCLA's freshman guard Lonzo Ball, who is in contention for the Naismith Trophy, given to college basketball's player of the year. But they have to do a better job of playing the passing lanes and having active hands on the defensive end of the court. UCLA totaled 25 assists against the Golden Flashes and shot 62.7 percent from the floor. The Golden Flashes responded with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to nine. But UCLA will start off with the Golden Flashes of Kent State. Ball played through a right hip bruise suffered late in the first half and finished with 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting and four rebounds.
Lonzo Ball said his hip's fine.
UCLA should use this game as a major confidence boost and a building block going forward in the tournament. "I was just looking at Gary [Clark] and I told Troy [Caupain] before the game 'I'm following your lead'".
"I have a lot of respect for Mick", Alford said. Maybe it was just the fact that they broke out to an early lead and got a bit complacent. "Seeding didn't matter. I knew we were going to have to be ready to play basketball regardless". He threw down a vicious one-handed dunk in transition, made two three-pointers as well as an up-and-under layup and a running jumper while getting fouled on the way to 16 points before halftime. He really only forced up one shot that we saw, and otherwise was finding the open guy and showing the willing passing ability that has made him so good at times this year.
"That's sort of how we have played all season long and we're a good second-half team", he said. "And then, I thought from about the 12-minute mark of the first half, the lid came off the basket and I thought we executed very well".