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Edwin & Kent State fall short to UCLA

Deon J. Edwin (with ball) scored 18 points on an efficient 5-for-8 shooting but Kent State fell to UCLA, 97-80, on Friday March 17, 2017 in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament South Region. Photo: Getty Images
Deon J. Edwin slam dunks during a game for Kent State. Photo: Getty Images
Deon J. Edwin slam dunks during a game for Kent State. Photo: Getty Images
Deon J. Edwin (2nd from right) playing in a local league in the Virgin Islands back in 2016. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
Deon J. Edwin (2nd from right) playing in a local league in the Virgin Islands back in 2016. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The 14th seeded Kent State men's basketball team, which includes Virgin Islander Deon J. Edwin, played third seeded UCLA close in the second half, but ultimately fell to the Bruins, 97-80, on Friday March 17, 2017 in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament South Region.

Through the first 32 minutes of action, the Golden Flashes (22-14) looked like it might pull off the biggest upset of the tournament's opening weekend when a driving layup by Kevin Zabo got the Flashes to within 74-66 with 7:38 to play. However, the nation's top scoring team responded with a 16-2 run to pull away.

"Very proud of our group," said head coach Rob Senderoff. "We had our chances. We didn't start off the game very well, down 16-2, but battled back, halftime it was an eight-point game. Started the second half off well, but ultimately we didn't get enough stops and they're a very good team."

Jaylin Walker was one of four Flashes to score in double-figures with a game-high 23 points. The Mid-American Conference Tournament MVP knocked down five three-point field goals, the most by any Kent State in all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

Playing in a Kent State uniform for the final time, Jimmy Hall had his 23rd double-double of the season with a game-high 15 rebounds and 20 points. Hall's 15 boards are five more than the Flashes' previous record in a NCAA Tournament game and helped the smaller team hold a 36-33 edge on the boards. Kent State also led 15-4 in second-chance scoring.

Edwin nets 18

Deon J. Edwin scored added 18 points on an efficient 5-for-8 shooting, while Kevin Zabo chipped in 12 points and a team-high five assists off the bench.  

UCLA made 37 of 59 field goals (62.7 percent), which included 7-for-14 (50.0 percent) from beyond the three-point stripe. T.J. Leaf scored a team-high 23 points as one of five Bruins to score in double-figures. Thomas Welsh pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go with 16 points. Aaron Holiday had a double-double with 15 points and 11 assists.

Kent State won 20 or more games for the 16th time in the last 18 seasons and played in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time.

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