LAS VEGAS - The Trojans had scored 12 straight, cutting Utah's 13-point lead Wednesday night to a mere one with 3:18 to play.
That's when Jarred DuBois took over.
Utah's senior guard made a jump shot, then a three-pointer, then assisted on a Jason Washburn dunk to put Utah up by six in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.
The Utes hung on to win 69-66, surviving J.T. Terrell's deep three-pointer with 41 seconds left and a scramble by both squads as the Trojans tried to launch a shot at the buzzer.
"I think it's important as a senior that you try to do whatever you can to win," DuBois said.
That, he did, leading all scorers with 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting to propel Utah to today's quarterfinals matchup against No. 2 seed Cal at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Suddenly, the 10th-seeded Utes (14-17) appear to be the hottest team in the league. No Pac-12 squad has won more than Utah's three straight.
The win streak ties a Utah season high.
Consider: Before last week, Utah had won only three games since New Year's Day.
"I feel like we're coming together when we need to come together," Washburn said. "At the right time.…
"I think this team is really starting to understand what we need to do to win basketball games against good, solid teams here in the Pac-12."
Down three as the clock expired, the Trojans (14-18) had a chance to tie the game. After forcing a DuBois miss as the shot clock ran out with eight seconds left, USC threw an outlet pass toward midcourt. The ball was smacked onto the ground, and the game clock expired during the resulting scramble.
The loss might have ended interim coach Bob Cantu's USC coaching career. The 12-year USC employee took over for Kevin O'Neill in January and went 7-8.
He said he had no idea where he would coach next year.
"I'm thankful to the administration for giving me the opportunity to be an interim coach and get this experience," he said. "I'm thankful to the guys for competing and playing for me."
The Utes, meanwhile, play on - growing by the minute.
"I think we're a different team than we were two days ago," DuBois said.
Cougars' rally falls short
Washington State scored 15 straight points to tie the rival Huskies with less than three minutes to play but couldn't take the lead and lost 64-62 in the nightcap.
The Cougars' rally started with a Will DiIorio three-pointer with less than eight minutes left, and continued with a Brock Motum three-pointer and a Motum layup. Motum led all scorers with 28 points in 40 minutes in his final college game.
A Royce Woolridge layup and another Motum three tied the game at 62, but the Huskies' Desmond Simmons made a jump shot with 1:16 left for the decisive points.
Motum missed a three-point attempt in the final seconds, and UW ran out the clock on a deep pass on an out-of-bounds play.
"It's unbelievable how regardless how the game starts, in the end it comes out that way," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We're fortunate. We dodged a bullet."
The sixth-seeded Huskies play No. 3 Oregon tonight.
"Another day to play," senior point guard Abdul Gaddy said.
• Oregon State won't participate in the College Basketball Invitational, an entrance-fee tournament the Beavers have played in three of the last four years.
"Normally we'd say yes to that - but these guys want to be NCAA tournament guys," OSU coach Craig Robinson said. "I don't know, with our record, if we'd even be invited.
"But we are raising the bar, and we want to feel the sting of not playing in the postseason for the first time, and see how that motivates us for next year."
• USC center Omar Oraby had a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, earning extra playing time after Dewayne Dedmon and James Blasczyk were suspended after a Spokane, Wash., bar fight.
• ASU senior wing Carrick Felix was named Pac-12 Men's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday. He carries a 3.5 GPA while completing his masters of liberal studies degree.
Contact reporter Patrick Finley at email@example.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @PatrickFinley