Standing in front of the UCLA bench, Japreece Dean took a big step toward redemption Saturday night. The freshman guard played with the poise and composure coaches want to see after his late-game mistake against USC last month cost the Bruins a regular-season win.
Dean delivered with a 25-foot jump shot with four seconds remaining in overtime to give UCLA a 62-61 win over Oregon State. The Bruins (19-7, 9-4) ran their winning streak to six games with an Oregon State team on a seven-game winning streak.
"I watched it all game long," said senior Thomas Welsh, who led UCLA with 19 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. "I told him to go through the double team and leave me open."
After Henry Walker’s layup gave Oregon State a 61-60 lead, Dean passed the ball to Welsh on the baseline and he drew a foul for a three-point play that tied the score at 61 with 17 seconds left.
Then it was Dean’s turn to make up for an earlier mistake when he was on the floor in the closing seconds when Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year Bryce Alford missed a potential game-winning, 25-foot shot from the corner.
One week earlier, Dean fumbled the ball away with 0.2 seconds left and USC escaped with a one-point victory. Dean finished with a career-high 12 points and 13 rebounds. He needs to start maturing quickly if the Bruins have any hope of advancing to the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
The physical play was a lot to take in for the young Bruins, who held off an Oregon State team that had three players score in double figures and a nation’s best seven three-pointers.
Welsh rebounded from a rough week in which he made three turnovers that led to eight points by finishing with four turnovers. After missing 10 of his first 12 shots, he hit three three-pointers. He also helped draw a five-second call at the end of regulation when Jordan McLaughlin was fouled and couldn’t get a shot off. McLaughlin missed the free throw to set up the overtime thriller.
Gabe York added 13 points for UCLA. McLaughlin finished with 13 points and McLaughlin missed the game because of an ankle injury.
UCLA continues its Pac-12 schedule next week at Washington and Stanford, a difficult stretch that could go a long way toward deciding the conference title.