The type of emotion the UCLA men’s basketball team carried into its first meeting with Oregon State this season is the opposite of the feeling accompanying it into the second.

The level of emotion, however, is nearly identical.

Entering Sunday’s matchup with Oregon State, No. 10 UCLA is coming off Thursday’s roller coaster victory over No. 5 Oregon that nearly blew the roof off Pauley Pavilion as the Bruins overcame a 19-point deficit.

When it visited Oregon State Dec. 30, UCLA was fresh off the other end of a dramatic game. The Bruins had just blown a four-point lead in the final 15 seconds of a loss to Oregon on Dillon Brooks’ 3-pointer a the buzzer.

The Bruins’ coaching staff was admittedly concerned about any lingering effects. And UCLA confirmed those fears for the first three quarters of its victory over Oregon State, leading the last-place team in the Pac-12 by five with less than 10 minutes to play before separating for a more comfortable 13-point final margin.

“We were most worried about that going to Oregon State,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “That’s where the veterans’ leadership comes in too and the freshmen getting onto the next play and the next game. … We were a little hesitant in the first half, but got things put together.”

Fresh off its most significant win of the season, Thursday’s 82-79 win over Oregon in front of a deafening sellout crowd at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA (22-3, 9-3 Pac-12) faces a similar challenge.

Oregon State (4-21, 0-12) is certainly easy to overlook with losses in 15 of its last 16 games and all 12 in conference.

But UCLA’s win over Oregon doesn’t lighten the burden for the Bruins. In fact, it arguably puts more pressure on UCLA to take care of the team at the bottom of the conference now that hope for a Pac-12 championship has been renewed.

A loss to Oregon State would be as detrimental to UCLA’s NCAA tournament resumé as the win over Oregon was beneficial.

“Coach has been preaching it all February,” UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball said. “February sets up March.”

Ball is coming off an odd game in which the nation’s leader in assists had just one against Oregon. But the freshman made the game’s two biggest shots, including a step-back, 30-foot 3-pointer with 32 seconds left. His season-low assist total was indicative of his minimal impact until the last 15 minutes of the game, when he scored 10 of his 15 points.

Fellow freshman Ike Anigbogu had one of his best games of the season against Oregon with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

It was probably not a coincidence that the last 17 minutes of the game was arguably UCLA’s best defensive stretch of the season. Alford believes the Bruins much maligned defense may be turning a corner in February. Its performance against Oregon State will only provide further evidence.

“Most players, confidence comes in ‘Am I making shots?’ and all we’ve done all year is make shots,” Alford said. “I’ve tried to tell them all year, we’ve got to build that same confidence at the defensive end.”

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