Auburn's Bruce Pearl sticks up for Chad Baker-Mazara after costly ejection

Thu, Mar 28, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

Auburn's Bruce Pearl sticks up for Chad Baker-Mazara after costly ejection

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn coach Bruce Pearl still isn't happy with a call that led to the costly ejection of Chad Baker-Mazara in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, but he's urging fans to lay off his starting guard.

Baker-Mazara threw an elbow at Yale's August Mahoney as the pair ran downcourt just three minutes into a 78-76 loss to Yale. Baker-Mazara was called for a Flagrant 2 foul when Pearl says he believes it could easily have been a Flagrant 1 that wouldn't have meant an ejection.

"What a really difficult way to learn from that mistake," Pearl said Thursday, rehashing the scenario six days later. "At the same time, I would also like to remind our fans and anybody listening that Chad owned up to that mistake. And he's apologized for that mistake. And he's taken responsibility for it, although the consequences were really, really significant. And he feels really bad. He's struggling with that right now."

Before being knocked off by the No. 13 seeded Ivy League tournament champions, Auburn was hot. It had won the Southeastern Conference tournament and was made a No. 4 seed before its abrupt ending.

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Pearl isn't happy with fans giving Baker-Mazara grief on social media.

"I'm just going to tell the Auburn family, while I know you're disappointed, if somebody was messing with your son, you'd stand up for your son a little bit, wouldn't you?" Pearl said. "Stop messing with my son. Stop it. He apologized. He made a mistake. And I'm calling you out. I'm not having it. For those on social media that want to continue, unfollow those people. Stop it."

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