Crowd will be back on their side

December 07, 2008|David Wharton | Wharton is a Times staff writer.

Freshman guard Jrue Holiday can expect a friendlier -- and quieter -- work environment when UCLA faces Cal State Northridge at Pauley Pavilion tonight.

Playing before a boisterous and, at times, deafening crowd at Texas on Thursday, Holiday had the worst game of his young college career, making one of six shots for three points with a pair of turnovers.

"It was very different from New York," he said, referring to the Bruins' trip east for the 2K Sports Classic, played on a neutral site at Madison Square Garden. "The crowd was way louder."

Even the Texas players were impressed by the volume inside Frank Erwin Center.

"Our fans were great tonight," Texas guard A.J. Abrams said. "They came out early and were loud throughout the whole game."

Holiday insisted the noise factor had nothing to do with his performance, he simply couldn't find a rhythm. Coach Ben Howland suggested it had something to do with guarding Abrams, who scored a game-high 31 points.

"Makes it difficult at the other end," Howland said. "Especially for a freshman who's just trying to figure things out."

Numbers game

Take away the final score and there were a few numbers from the Texas game that pleased Howland.

The Bruins had 13 turnovers, which the coach did not consider awful against a team that pressures as aggressively as the Longhorns do.

The Bruins also won the rebounding battle, 39-38, against an opponent that was bigger along the front line. Center Alfred Aboya's team-high 11 rebounds included seven on the offensive boards.

"Pretty impressive when you consider how good they are on the glass," Howland said.

Drawing board

There isn't much mystery about what the Bruins needed to address in the short time they had to prepare for Northridge.

On defense, they failed to switch at critical moments. On offense, the guards had some success in penetrating and breaking down the defense but did not always distribute the ball to open teammates.

And it didn't help that the Bruins made only 39% of their shots.

"I think this is going to be a good shooting team," Howland said. "We've just got to keep working."


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