Las Vegas • Jarred DuBois sent Utah to the Pac-12 semifinals long before his high-arching 3-pointer forced overtime in a 79-69 win over California on Thursday.
No, he won this game in the silence of the Huntsman Center not before the packed house of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
He won this game by shooting tons of jumpers. By working hard on his game. By being dedicated to honing his shot, even when it would've been easy to take his basketball on head back to his dorm on the hill.
"It's what he did by himself that helped him out tonight," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
DuBois scored a team-high 21 points for Utah against the Bears. A blistering 15 of those came in the first half, or before Cal had a chance to "blink," coach Mike Montgomery said. For the senior guard who transferred in from Loyola Marymount, it's all starting to come together at the right time.
The Los Angeles native has always had supreme confidence. But he's had a season-long bout with questionable shot selection. He's missed potential game-winners, his brick during the Arizona game early in January coming to mind. Still, when asked what he his thought process was when confronted by 6-foot-10 Richard Kravish in the waning seconds on Thursday, DuBois was straight-faced and straightforward with the answer.
"I thought it was going to go in," he quipped.
In the twilight of a long collegiate career, DuBois has finally learned how to lead, how to be a primary scorer. He carried Utah early on. He took good shots. He got to the basket off the dribble. He kept the California defense guessing. And when money time presented itself, DuBois happily took over.
The Utes are the beneficiary, as they will be playing on Friday night, improbably one of the last four Pac-12 teams alive. They are the lone double-digit seed left in the field, carrying a torch for the bottom third of the league.
And much of it due to DuBois' transformation.