March Madness, meet the controversy.
Eleven-seeded UCLA scored an 88-78 overtime surprise against 2-seeded Alabama in the Sweet 16 Sunday; Crimson Tide senior Alex Reese sent the match to OT with a 3 pointers that beat the buzzer, but the Bruins won, edging Tide 23-13 in the extra period.
But Alabama fans – and some unbiased viewers, too – were angry with the officials when they failed to call an offensive foul on Bruins goaltender Tyger Campbell late in the settlement. Campbell appeared to charge into Alabama’s Herbert Jones, the SEC Player of the Year, just after distributing the ball to Cody Riley; he got the assist as Riley’s layup gave the Bruins a 63-62 lead with 14 seconds left in regulation.
It certainly looked like Jones had established his position under the basket and Campbell had lowered his shoulder. Adding insult to injury, Jones was called up on charges twice in the game’s opening 40 seconds, which put him in trouble early on.
Alabama had a chance to regain the lead six seconds to the end of the second half, but Jones, who took the shots, missed both free throws. UCLA’s David Singleton then made two free throws on the possession that followed to give UCLA a three-point advantage with about four seconds left, meaning Reese’s 3 sent the game into extension tied at 65, instead of ending it in regulation.
While Alabama certainly didn’t do themselves a favor 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 put end at halftime – such an important call, at this point in the game and in the NCAA tournament, must be called. Even if the officials don’t want to affect a game.
The no-call left many viewers angry:
ESSENTIAL AND NOT CALCULATED LOAD ON UCLA. FLIGHT.
– Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 29, 2021
lol I mean … if you’re going to call Herb Jones on charges in the first minute of this Tyger Campbell game. What don’t you call the one where Tyger does the same to Jones?
– Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) March 29, 2021
It’s an epic finish. But it was created by two charge calls in the opening minute – which gave UCLA a chance to get an early check – and a missed charge in the last minute of settlement that gave UCLA the head.
These calls were as decisive as anything on the pitch.
– Graham Couch (@Graham_Couch) March 29, 2021
UCLA left with a load right there
– Jace (@_Jstern) March 29, 2021