Below are photos of the mugging that sloan received, by not one but two bruins. It was obvious.
Mugged by two Bruins
Blatant hand on the arm; Fix was on"
Well, I saw one of the referee's mistakes, very clearly, in a replay in which the ball went off Russell Westbrook (UCLA "0") but was mistakenly given back to the Bruins in a very close game where every turnover counted. The two photos are pretty convincing, and I agree the ball did not go through the hoop before the red light went on. I did not see whether the ball was released before the red light went off, and that probably is the critical factor in counting or not counting the point.
The Aggies played a great game and it is too bad that human judgment interfered with their chance for a great upset victory. They played a great game and were stymied by the referees and the great play of Darren Collison and Kevin Love. Love's efforts in the second half with blocked shots and rebounds and scoring, as a marked man surrounded by excellent, physical defenders, will always be clouded by second guessing.
"I am not an aggie but the fix was definitely on....
well, really, now! The loss of a very close game that could have gone either way makes hyperbole an understandable faux pas, but I am reminded of another UCLA athlete, playing as a professional, who exemplified sportsmanship. Arthur Ashe would correct the call of line judges in professional tennis matches, when one of his opponent's serves was called a fault when it was really in, and deliberately lose the next point to even the score. This always impressed me, as a former tennis player, to be a tribute to something that is often lost in today's athletic contests, the concept of sportsmanship. You don't want to win on an official's mistake.
I don't know if UCLA would have defeated a fine Texas A&M team in a well contested match, but it's path would have been much more difficult. The home crowd did not help the Aggies, any more than a finger in the eye helped the Bruin's Lew Alcindor in a game against a great Houston team in the Astrodome, but in neither case was, "...the fix definitely on..." In athletic competition as in all human endeavor, striving for perfection is the ideal, and falling short of it, the reality. Sporting events are symbolic efforts on the road of competition, and the end result is often flawed, at least in the minds of individual observers. UCLA prevailed through its competitive spirit and good luck, helped by a home environment, which it secured by winning many, many other games, sometimes in hostile environments.
I congratulate both teams for giving it their all, and I acknowledge that the referees were less than perfect, and Texas A&M deserved better. Their team left Anaheim covered in glory, and this Bruin will have a special interest in future Aggie teams.