The Bruins (4-1) had specific goals going into their contest against Florida International. One was to play hardnosed Ben Howland defense. The Bruins did just that as the Golden Panthers only shot 34.9 percent from the floor. That is a far cry short of the 45 percent the Bruin defense have been allowing prior to Saturday's game.
When the Bruins play their style of defense they usually end up in the winner's column and that is exactly what they as UCLA routed FIU 89-54.
Bruin freshman Jrue Holiday gave Bruin fans a glimpse of what is in store as he was outstanding.
Holiday was a perfect 8-8 shooting from the field including draining a three near the close of the first half to give the Bruins a 46-13 lead.
On the night, Holiday led the Bruin scoring with 20 points. He also had four rebounds, three steals and two assists in 19 minutes of well rounded play.
Another goal Howland wanted was to see senior point guard Darren Collison shoot more. Well he probably didn't the rock as much as Howland anticipated but he did an excellent job feeding others as he had a game high, seven assists. That number was as many for the whole FIU team.
Collison was tied for second on the team in scoring as he hit on 4-5 shots for 11 points. He also added four rebounds and three steals while playing 20 minutes of basketball.
An area of improvement for Collison was in the turnover department as he only had one and when you take into consideration the amount of time he has the ball that was a solid performance indeed.
UCLA as a team, however had 17 turnovers, three in the first 2:30 minutes of the game and against a tougher opponent that could spell trouble.
Once again the Bruins out rebounded their opponent 32 to 17 and they did so as a team. Six different players tied for the team lead with four rebounds.
This was the perfect tune up for an expected much more difficult game against highly ranked Texas team this Thursday Night in Austin.
It allowed for the Bruins to work on what they needed to work on in a game like atmosphere and gain confidence in doing things right, especially on the defensive end. Knowing you were able to something correctly in a game situation could come in handy on Thursday.
The Bruins were able to play a lot of players on Saturday and no one played over 20 minutes. It was a good effort that the Bruins will have to take the positives and build for the future with this young team.
The game against Texas will give Bruin fans a better idea where they are and will be their toughest foe of the season.