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No. 5 UCLA Adds Game Against Long Beach State

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — After a nearly two-week shutdown because of COVID-19, No. 5 UCLA men's basketball will host Long Beach State on Thursday. The game was added after the Bruins' game against Arizona State scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.

The team returned to practice a week ago, with everyone from coach Mick Cronin to several players having recovered after being laid low by the coronavirus. Just three scholarship players did not test positive.

In alignment with USC's announcement that all indoor home athletics events will be closed to the general public, UCLA announced that only family members will be allowed to attend Thursday's game because of rising COVID-19 cases. The Beach is making its second visit to Pauley Pavilion this season, having lost 100-79 on Nov. 15.

The Bruins (8-1) haven't played since Dec. 11, when they won at Marquette. Four days later, Cronin woke up "feeling terrible," tested positive and immediately went into quarantine. The Bruins' game that night against Alabama State was canceled an hour before tipoff.

"It was a wild ride," Cronin said. "I feel better now. Being in the bedroom for 10 days was no fun at all."

Games against North Carolina in Las Vegas and Cal Poly at home were canceled. After winning their Pac-12 opener on Dec. 1 against Colorado, the Bruins had four other league games postponed.

UCLA thought it would be hosting Arizona State on Wednesday, but then the Sun Devils came down with COVID-19 issues. It's up to the Pac-12 office to schedule league games; the Bruins can line up any nonconference games themselves.

"We all want to play, but we understand what it's like for other teams that are going through it," UCLA starting guard Jules Bernard said Tuesday via Zoom.

Amid the alarming rise in coronavirus cases as a result of the emergence of the Omicron variant, UCLA joined several other University of California schools Tuesday in announcing that it will return to online learning for at least the first two weeks of the winter quarter.

The school said that classes will be held remotely for the first two weeks. In-person instruction is expected to resume on Jan. 18.

UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Diego also announced that they would switch to remote classes for the first two weeks of the winter quarter. UC Davis announced it would switch to remote learning for just the first week of the quarter.

This all comes after UC system president Michael Drake sent a letter to all school chancellors stating that all eligible students and staff will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in order to return to UC campuses.

UCLA said that all students returning to campus will have to provide proof of a booster by Jan. 18, and its faculty and staff by Jan. 31.

UCLA also said that its students will have to participate in a "robust" coronavirus testing program beginning no later than Jan. 9.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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