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UCLA advances past Kent State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- At one point, the score was almost as scary as the sight of Lonzo Ball crashing to the floor, but UCLA overcame both to beat Kent State 97-80 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at the Golden 1 Center.

TJ Leaf scored 23 points for the third-seeded Bruins (30-4), who will play sixth-seeded Cincinnati in a second-round South Regional game on Sunday.

Thomas Welsh had 16 points and eight rebounds for UCLA. Aaron Holiday came off the bench to post 15 points and 11 assists. Ball also scored 15 points and Isaac Hamilton added 14.

Jaylin Walker scored 23 points for 14th-seeded Kent State (22-14). Jimmy Hall had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Deon Edwin scored 18.

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.

Ball drained a 3-pointer to give UCLA an early 11-2 lead. Leaf threw down a soaring dunk on a feed from Holiday to put the Bruins up 31-15 later in the first half.

Despite the hot start by UCLA, Kent State refused to quit. The Golden Flashes responded with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to nine.

Leaf and Holiday made 3-pointers to help the Bruins push the lead to 18, but the Golden Flashes ended the half with a 13-4 run to get within nine at the break.

UCLA received a scare late in the first half when Ball landed hard on his right side after trying to catch a lob near the basket. Ball clutched his right hip, was helped to his feet and had a noticeable limp in the final minute of the half, but he appeared to be moving freely in the second half.

Kent State carried its momentum into the second half. The Golden Flashes got within six on a layup by Hall and later cut the deficit to four on a 3-pointer by Walker with just over 16 minutes remaining, but UCLA staged a 16-2 run to take control.

31 PHOTOS
Inside the first round of March Madness, 2017
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Inside the first round of March Madness, 2017
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Princeton Tigers guard Devin Cannady (3) dribbles against Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Rex Pflueger (0) in the first half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Darius Thompson (51) shoots against North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks forward Devontae Cacok (15) during the first half in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Mike Daum #24 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits handles the ball against Johnathan Williams #3 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 16: Marial Shayok #4 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts after a collision against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Amway Center on March 16, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Chris Howell #3 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits competes for a loose ball with Nigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 16: Kelan Martin #30 of the Butler Bulldogs attempts a shot while being guarded by Xavier Cooks #12 of the Winthrop Eagles in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Przemek Karnowski #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs shoots in the first half against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: The West Virginia Mountaineers huddle up prior to their game against the Bucknell Bison during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Michael Orris #50 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits drives to the basket against Przemek Karnowski #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Jevon Carter #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts as he falls to the ground against the Bucknell Bison during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Khalil Iverson (21) shoots against Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ty Outlaw (42) and forward Zach LeDay (32) in the second half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Nevada Wolf Pack guard Josh Hall (33) falls on Iowa State Cyclones guard Monte Morris (11) while battling for the ball during the second half of the game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida Gulf Coast Eagles guard Rayjon Tucker (3) reacts after making a three point shot against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Elijah Long #55 of the Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers shoots against Mikal Bridges #25 of the Villanova Wildcats in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 16: Marcus Marshall #1 of the Nevada Wolf Pack attempts a shot between Monte Morris #11 and Nazareth Mitrou-Long #15 of the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MARCH 16: Kadeem Allen #5 of the Arizona Wildcats dives on to the scorers table to save the ball against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena on March 16, 2017 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 17: Ian Baker #4 of the New Mexico State Aggies defends Ishmail Wainright #24 of the Baylor Bears in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 17, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 17: Angel Delgado #31 of the Seton Hall Pirates with the ball against Dustin Thomas #13 and Moses Kingsley #33 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 17, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 17: Leyton Hammonds #23 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys drives to the basket against the Michigan Wolverines during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 17: Bennie Boatwright #25 and Jonah Mathews #2 of the USC Trojans go for a rebound against Semi Ojeleye #33 and Sterling Brown #3 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 17, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: Dylan Ennis #31 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Iona Gaels during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 17: Bennie Boatwright #25 of the USC Trojans kneels at center court at the start of the game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 17, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 17: Moses Kingsley #33 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts in the second half against the Seton Hall Pirates in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 17, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: Jon Severe #10 of the Iona Gaels fouls Dillon Brooks #24 of the Oregon Ducks in the first half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: E.C. Matthews #0 of the Rhode Island Rams attempts a shot against the Creighton Bluejays during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 17: Jordan Washington #23 of the Iona Gaels is helped off the court after suffering an injury in the first half against the Oregon Ducks during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Golden 1 Center on March 17, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 17: De'Anthony Melton #22, Nick Rakocevic #31, Bennie Boatwright #25 and Shaqquan Aaron #0 of the USC Trojans celebrate after defeating the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 17, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
TULSA, OK - MARCH 17: Sterling Brown #3 of the Southern Methodist Mustangs handles the ball against Jordan McLaughlin #11 of the USC Trojans in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 17, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 17: Theo Pinson #1, Justin Jackson #44, Nate Britt #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels and teammate cheer from the bench in the second half against the Texas Southern Tigers during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 17, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina. North Carolina Tar Heels won 103-64. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 17: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks during the first round of the NCAA Baketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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