UCLA Basketball: Sports Arena to be primary home venue for 2011-12 season
UCLA will announce Thursday that it will play a majority of its home basketball games at the Sports Arena next season, with a sprinkling of games at the Honda Center, according to a person familiar with the arrangement who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly comment until the plan was officially unveiled.
The Bruins are also expected to play an exhibition game at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
UCLA is playing away from Pauley Pavilion during the 2011-12 season because its longtime home is undergoing renovations before reopening for the 2012-13 season.
The Bruins played home games at the 16,021-seat Sports Arena from 1959-65, winning two NCAA championships, four AAWU conference titles and going undefeated in 1964 (15-0) and 1965 (14-0). UCLA also won the 1968 and 1972 national championships in games played at the Sports Arena, which is 15 miles from the Bruins' campus.
UCLA has played in the Wooden Classic in the 18,900-seat Honda Center nearly every year since 1994. Citizens Business Bank Arena, which seats 9,500, opened in 2008 and has played host to several Lakers preseason exhibition games.
"It's going to be a challenge to not be on campus and play at multiple facilities," Bruins Coach Ben Howland said last month during his season-ending meeting with the media. "For the long term, for the program, it will be great when Pauley is completed and we're back in it in September of 2012.
"So the heartache of having to deal with it on a day-to-day basis, the logistics of it all, is tempered by the fact that it's going to be a brand-new, beautiful feel to Pauley when we go back in."
-- Ben Bolch
Photo: Members of the UCLA basketball team congratulate Reeves Nelson. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press.