Bruins prepare for rare midseason exhibition

LOS ANGELES -- In a scheduling quirk, the UCLA Bruins will play an exhibition game against Cal State San Marcos at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion.

Exhibition games normally come before the season begins. But because UCLA was unveiling renovated Pauley Pavilion this season, the school wanted the first tilt there to be a game that counted. Hence, the exhibition was pushed back.

"It’s obviously really odd to have an exhibition game in the middle of the season," Bruins coach Ben Howland said. "I’ve never done this before.

“This is not something that will happen often in the future here."

It actually works out well for the Bruins (5-3), who have played far below expectations and could use a practice game to work out kinks. Howland said he would use a man-to-man defense the entire game in order to try to shore up some of the issues that have plagued UCLA on that end of the floor.

Twice this season UCLA opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the floor. And in the three UCLA losses this season, opponents shot around 60 percent in the second half.

"As you can see, we’re not a great defensive team, yet," Jordan Adams said. "That’s the reason we lost some of these games; so we’ll just keep working on this defense."

The Bruins aren't exactly a well-oiled machine on offense, either.

Howland said he has asked Cal State San Marcos to play at least one half of the game using man-to-man defense so he could have his team work on offensive sets.

Adams said the team is still working out its identity and trying to figure out the best way to play on both ends of the floor so this is a good time for an exhibition game.

“It’s good to see our flaws early so we can try to change them," he said. "We’re living and dying with the decisions and seeing where that takes us. We’re still a young team, so we’ll live and die with our mistakes and just try and get better."

Cal State San Marcos (7-3) is an NAIA school in its second season with a basketball team. The Cougars, coached by former UCLA assistant Jim Saia, went 19-12 last season and made it to the Association of Independent Institutions conference championship game.

On Nov. 1, the Cougars played an exhibition game against the San Diego State Aztecs and lost 67-46. UCLA lost to the Aztecs 78-69 on Saturday.

Notes: UCLA center Tony Parker, out last game with a sprained ankle, practiced Tuesday and is expected to play in the exhibition. … The game will not be televised or broadcast on the radio, but audio will be streamed at uclabruins.com.