March Madness, meet controversy.
Eleven-seed UCLA scored an 88-78 overtime upset of 2-seed Alabama in the Sweet 16 on Sunday; Crimson Tide senior Alex Reese sent the game to OT with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but the Bruins prevailed by outscoring the Tide 23-13 in the extra period.
But Alabama fans — and some impartial viewers, too — were angry at officials when they didn’t call an offensive foul on Bruins guard Tyger Campbell late in regulation. Campbell seemed to charge into Alabama’s Herbert Jones, the SEC Player of the Year, right after dishing the ball to Cody Riley; he earned the assist as Riley’s layup gave the Bruins a 63-62 lead with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
It certainly appeared as if Jones had established position under the basket and that Campbell lowered his shoulder. Adding insult to injury, Jones was called for charges twice in the game’s first 40 seconds, putting him in foul trouble early.
Alabama had a chance to retake the lead with six seconds remaining in the second half, but Jones, who took the shots, missed both free throws. UCLA’s David Singleton then made two free throws on the ensuing possession to give UCLA a three-point advantage with roughly four seconds remaining, meaning Reese’s 3 sent the game to overtime tied at 65, instead of ending it in regulation.
While Alabama certainly did itself no favors in the loss — the Crimson Tide shot 11 of 25 from the free throw line, committed 14 turnovers and allowed an 18-4 UCLA run to end halftime — a call of such importance, at that stage in the game and in the NCAA Tournament, has to be called. Even if the officials don’t want to affect a game.
The no-call left many viewers angry:
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