By Beth Harris

The Associated Press

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Oregon St. at Southern Cal

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

LOS ANGELES — UCLA won its first three games under interim coach Murry Bartow with Chris Smith in the starting lineup. Having lost four of its last five, Bartow decided to put Smith back in the rotation.

The move paid off.

Smith scored the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds left on a desperate bank shot after UCLA (7-7 Pac-12, 14-13 overall) blew a 12-point second-half lead, and the Bruins hung on for a 68-67 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night.

“We wanted a more skilled guy at the 4,” Bartow said. “We just thought we needed a little bit of a change, not just in the starting lineup but who we were playing.”

Tres Tinkle airballed a potential game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds to go for the Beavers, who did not take their first lead until 1:26 remaining in the game.

“We were just kind of out of sorts,” Stephen Thompson Jr. said of Oregon State’s last play. “We weren’t in the right positions.”

Thompson scored 21 points and Tinkle added 19 for ­Oregon State (8-5, 16-9), which fell to third place behind idle Arizona State in the league standings. The Beavers’ two-game winning streak ended.

“We outscored them 40-26 in the paint yet it’s a 28-3 advantage at the free-throw line,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Maybe it’s our fault not going to the rim enough.”

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