UCLA to acclimate to new gym

The UCLA men's basketball team on Thursday will have a few hours to get acclimated with the Los Angeles Sports Arena, its new home away from home while the renovation to Pauley Pavilion continues on campus.

The Bruins will play Cal State Fullerton in a closed scrimmage composed of two 20-minute halves.

"It will help us get used to the setting," said UCLA coach Ben Howland, whose team opens the season Nov. 11 at the Sports Arena against Loyola Marymount.

Howland said he received an update on the Sports Arena's status from UCLA senior associate athletic director Ken Weiner on Wednesday. Among the bullet points still on the to-do list before the Bruins open up the campaign: The installation of a scoreboard and carpet in the locker room. The scoreboard is scheduled to be installed on Nov. 7, Howland said. The facility will also be adorned with new portable baskets in time for the first game.

The Bruins will scrimmage Thursday without the use of scoreboards, relying on the teams' managers to keep stats.

According to Howland, the Sports Arena's floor will not resemble that of Pauley Pavilion. UCLA expects to use the same floor the Los Angeles Sparks used during the WNBA season but with a new paint job, a school spokesman said.

"It is what it is," Howland said. "It's going to be fine. We're in there for 12 games."

The Bruins will also play a "home" game at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, located nearly 60 miles east of UCLA. They will play four other games at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Pauley, which opened in 1965, is scheduled to re-open for the 2012-13 season.

"I'm more focused on what's happening here on our campus in terms of our facilities than I am about the Sports Arena," Howland said.

Blair Angulo covers UCLA for ESPNLosAngeles.com.