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Battling Through Pain/Adversity

As T noted in the post game thread, the Ben Ball warriors cruised passed Washington Huskies in what turned out to be a prototypical bruising and physical game. billyknight might have stolen my game notes because he basically posted what I was going to write this am (kidding bk). But read his diary because I couldn’t agree more with his observations Keefe, Love’s defensive play, and how different players keep stepping up for our team every game, as it is grounded in that trademark inside-the-jersey, suffocating Ben Ball defense.

The biggest stories from tomorrow night are the status of DC and Luc. DC suffered a hip contusion while Luc banged up his knee. Dohn has the details on DC and Luc:

"Right now, my hip hurts a lot," Collison said. "I'm going to be doing treatment (today) and I don't really know the status of how things are, if I'm even going to play or not. Hopefully, I can play Saturday. Right now, they're looking at it as a hip contusion."

Collison missed UCLA's first six games with a torn ligament in his left knee, and Sunday was hospitalized briefly because of food poisoning. He took fluids intravenously at the hospital, and again after Wednesday's practice.

However, there was no quick remedy for his ailing hip, which he injured when he bumped with Washington's Ryan Appleby.

"I am frustrated, but I'm going to continue to stay positive," Collison said. "This team has a bright future ahead, and all I can do is keep my head up and stay positive. I'm going through a lot of adversity right now. It's going to really challenge me to see how I'm going to progress and mature through those situations."

Mbah a Moute, who was plagued by sore knees all last season, suffered a right knee contusion in the second half. It was the same knee he injured Saturday at California, and was a bummer of a way to cap what was one of his best offensive performances of the season.
I think Luc will be fine for Saturday. The question is DC and whether he will be available. I am assuming for a big game like Washington State, he will give it a shot even though he will not be at 100 percent. Kevin Love for his part is being encouraging and positive:
But Kevin Love, the Bruins' freshman center, was confident that both would play against the Cougars.

"Darren will be ready, that's not even a question," Love, who scored 11 points and had seven rebounds, said of Collison.

"He (Luc) will be ready, too. They're just banged up. They'll go in and get some treatment tomorrow, and they'll be fine by Saturday.''
Coach Howland is also calm about the situation:
Howland said both Collison and Mbah a Moute would receive treatment today. "We'll know more tomorrow," Howland said. "We're saying it's just a bruise for Darren, the same thing with Luc. Bruised right knee."

Mbah a Moute said he expected to be ready Saturday.

Westbrook, who had four assists and three rebounds along with his 18 points, said this win was a credit to the defense. "That's always our thing," he said.
Howland can be calm about the injuries because he has a superstar like Westbrook ready to step up. Westbrook had another monster game last night:

Photo Credit: Jack Rosenfeld

He led the team with 18 points. But in addition to his offensive output it was also his defensive that got everyone’s attention. Westbrook teamed up with Luc to DOMINATE and SHUT DOWN Appleby. He had the Husky guard dumbfounded and searching for answers all night.

Besides Westbrook and Luc, Love once again held his own on the defensive side of the court by containing Brockman. From the Seattle Press-Intelligence:
"My emphasis was playing defense on Brockman," said Love, who matched his season low with 11 points and added seven rebounds. "I was just focused on Brockman. I just tried to keep him off the boards as much as possible."
I know we worship Love here on BN. But you can see the reason for it. Here is a kid who has come in to Westwood with unimagined hype and expectations. And yet it is just amazing to see him handle all of this with humility, while always keeping his focus on the team game not just through pretty words, but through his skills and actions on the court. As billyknight noted in his diary it has been delightful to see Love grow in just these few weeks as a defensive player. Because there is no doubt that Love’s defense has improved through the course of non conference season.

Speaking of Love, I also like the chemistry when both Love and Mata-Real is on the court at the same time. It was fun to see Love find his Lo down low multiple times for easy buckets, when hew as getting all the attention.

Well we are going to need lot more of Love, Mata-Real, Westbrook, Shipp and AA2 on Saturday when taking on the Cougars. Howland described what Saturday is going to be like to Dohn:
"It will be like getting a root canal without any pain killers," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "Playing them is going through the grinder. It is unbelievably hard because of how patient they are offensively, and how they just wait for a breakdown."
Hopefully Luc and DC will be ready to go on Saturday. And if one of them can’t or they are not 100 percent, rest of their team-mates will have to step up through the adversity. It is going to be another all out war. And judging from the past we know our warriors will battle through the adversity and give it everything they have.