UCLA calls off game against Alabama State due to COVID-19

The UCLA men’s basketball team avoided any and all COVID-19-related issues last season. While programs all over the country were being shut down due to positive tests, the Bruins played 32 games without any cancelation from their side.

Just as normalcy was creeping in this season, an unfortunate reminder that the virus is still present canceled UCLA’s game against Alabama State on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

“The UCLA men’s basketball home game against Alabama State on Wednesday, Dec. 15, will not be played as scheduled due to COVID-19 protocols,” the email from a UCLA spokesperson read at 7:01 p.m., just under an hour before the scheduled tip-off.

Fans streaming toward Pauley Pavilion were taken by surprise as word of mouth spread. The arena had yet to be opened to the public.

The game will go down as a cancelation, according to the spokesperson. No win or loss for either team will be issued. It’s possible the game will not get rescheduled later in the season.

Just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the team issued a release that notified media that Coach Mick Cronin would not be on the sideline for the game due to COVID-19 protocols. Associate head coach Darren Savino was going to serve as the acting head coach for the fourth-ranked Bruins (8-1), had the game been played.

The cancelation puts Saturday’s game against North Carolina in Las Vegas in question. A similar timetable that Washington experienced two weeks ago ended up canceling UCLA’s Pac-12 clash with the Huskies in Seattle.

Confirmation on whether or not Saturday’s game will be played could come as soon as late Thursday.

Alabama State head coach Mo Williams and other players were out on the floor an hour before tip-off warming up and shooting around when the news broke. Some Alabama State players stayed out on the floor and sat courtside with blank stares likely imagining what the atmosphere would have been like.

The Hornets (1-9) were on a West Coast trip and played at Pepperdine on Saturday.

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