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UCLA’s game against Washington jeopardized by seven positive tests within Huskies’ program

Head coach Mick Cronin on the sidelines as the UCLA Bruins and the Colorado Buffaloes play at Pauley Pavilion.
Mick Cronin coaches UCLA against Colorado on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA’s basketball game against Washington on Sunday in Seattle remained in limbo after the Huskies were forced to postpone their Pac-12 Conference opener because of COVID-19 issues within their program.

One person close to the situation told The Times on Thursday that seven Washington players and coaches had tested positive for the virus, leading to the postponement of the Huskies’ game against Arizona on Thursday night.

A Washington athletic department spokesperson said he could not discuss how many members of the team and coaching staff were under COVID-19 protocols but added that the players and staff were 100% vaccinated, meaning any positive tests would involve breakthrough cases. As of Thursday afternoon, the spokesperson said, Sunday’s game remained on track to be played.

Washington played Nevada on Nov. 24, six days before Wolf Pack coach Steve Alford announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would isolate for 10 days. Nevada assistant coach Craig Neal did not attend the team’s 79-66 victory over Pepperdine on Tuesday after being held out because of COVID-19 protocols.

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Follow along as voice of UCLA Josh Lewin explains why he pushed to cover a basketball game in Vegas and football game in Pasadena on the same day.

Nevada’s game against North Texas scheduled for Saturday will not be played because of COVID-19 issues within the Wolf Pack’s program, according to CBS Sports.

The game between Washington and Arizona was the first Pac-12 game to be postponed this season because of the virus. Conference officials had announced before the season that they would require teams unable to play because of virus issues to forfeit but said in a statement Wednesday night that they would work with Washington and Arizona to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the game.

UCLA endured several COVID-19 disruptions last season, having a game against Long Beach State twice wiped off its schedule because of virus issues involving the 49ers. The Bruins also had to play a makeup game at Oregon in March after a referee tested positive and his colleagues were placed into contact tracing shortly before the teams were scheduled to play in Eugene in late December. Several attempts to make the game up before the teams finally met in March were scratched when the Ducks had to pause basketball activities because of the virus.

After his fifth-ranked team defeated Colorado, 73-61, on Wednesday night in its Pac-12 opener, UCLA coach Mick Cronin said he hoped anyone involved with Washington’s COVID-19 situation was OK.

Tyger Campbell scored 21 points as No. 5 UCLA defeated Colorado 73-61 in their Pac-12 opener on Wednesday at Pauley Pavilion.

“That’s a shame,” Cronin said when asked about the issues involving the Huskies. “It seems to be becoming a problem — I’ve seen that a lot of NBA guys are dealing with it. It’s unfortunate and we all need to be careful, you know, everybody get their extra shot and do everything you can” to stay safe.

If the Bruins’ game against Washington is canceled or postponed until much later in the season, UCLA (7-1) would not play again until facing Marquette on Dec. 11 in Milwaukee.


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