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Ben Ball Roundup

Kevin Pearson from the Press Enterprise picks up on the storyline of Bruins facing their first real road test of the 2006-07 Season:

While the Bruins have won away from Pauley, they haven't played in front of hostile crowds. Victories over Kentucky and Georgia Tech came at the Maui Invitational, and the Bruins added a win over Texas A& M in last month's Wooden Classic at the Honda Center, which was packed with UCLA fans who drove down the I-5 for the top-10 matchup.

Now, UCLA will leave its fan base and student section and become the target of opposing fans. Oregon State (8-6, 0-1) should be a primer, and Oregon (13-0, 1-0) easily the Bruins' toughest test so far.
From the same article on how Luc and AA are looking forward to tonight's challenge:
"I expect them to throw some (comments) at us ..." forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said of the Ducks' fans. "But that's the road, that's why you play basketball. You want to go into a tough environment, play another team and win." [...]

"My road experience has been very good because it seems like we always unite on the road and play for each other," guard Arron Afflalo said. "We play for each other here, but even more so on the road. We're all about winning, and that's a fun way to play.
"I'm looking forward to it. Each new experience you go through strengthens your team."
Well one of the key challenges for tonight for Bruins will be 6-10 Beaver forward Sasa Cuic, who had a great game against the Bruins last year at Corvallis.  OC Register's Kuwada has more on the key match up for tonight's Bruin team-defense:
The 6-foot-10 forward stepped away from the basket and knocked down shot after shot - 3 of 4 from behind the three-point line, 8 of 13 in all - to keep the Beavers close until a second-half spurt propelled UCLA to a nine-point victory.

Cuic, who scored a career- high 24 points in that game, will be a focal point tonight when the No.1 Bruins face their first true road test of the season. Cuic led the Pac-10 last season in three-point field-goal percentage at 49.3, and he could create some problems for UCLA and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

"He's played well against us every time," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Cuic seemingly always seems to have one of his best games against us."

Mbah a Moute is looking forward to the matchup.

"He's a very good player. But again, it's not about matching up with anybody, it's about playing Oregon State, so we've got to do whatever we do to get the win," he said. "It's always hard, because you have to respect his shot. But it's all team defense. You can't do it yourself. You have to have your teammates help you, pressuring the ball, not letting them inside, denying, stuff like that. We're going to do what we need to do to get the win. We're more worried about the whole team, not one player."
And that is why we Luc has become such a Ben Ball star in less than two years: commitment to team defense. Yes, it's a broken record. But we can't say it enough. If the Bruins start out by focusing on (team) defense, and generate their offense off that D, within Howland's scheme, they should be all right.

Elsewhere, Pucin profiles DC. Newsflash to everyone the kid is pretty good.