Auburn’s Bruce Pearl rips fans who criticized Chad Baker-Mazara over NCAA tournament ejection: ‘Stop it’

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Longtime Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl is speaking out once again about Chad Baker-Mazara’s early ejection from the Tigers’ first round loss in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The junior guard was tossed for a flagrant 2 foul as less than four minutes had ticked off the clock in the opening quarterback of Auburn’s game against Yale on March 22.

“That’s a pretty tough call. He had got hit about five seconds earlier, got tangled up, got a little bit of an elbow, they let it go, maybe nobody saw it, and about five seconds later Chad hit him,” Pearl said after the game. “It was inappropriate. Clearly a flagrant 1. The fact that it was elevated to a flagrant 2 was a decision that the official had to make, but it obviously had tremendous impact on outcome.”

But on Thursday, Pearl turned his attention to the Auburn faithful who he believes have been overly critical of Baker-Mazara.

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Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers during their game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Neville Arena on January 09, 2024 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

“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 via The Associated Press. “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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While Baker-Mazara is admittedly a key part of Auburn’s rotation, the team’s inability to maintain possession of the basketball throughout the game contributed to the defeat.

“Chad is one of our best players, he’s one of our very best playmakers, and was a huge part of our game plan, so to lose him in that situation was really, really disruptive to our team on both ends of the floor,” Pearl added.

Bruce Pearl vs LSU

Bruce Pearl of the Auburn Tigers walks prior to the game against the LSU Tigers at Neville Arena on January 13, 2024 in Auburn, Alabama. (Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Aside from the 14 turnovers Auburn committed, Yale took advantage of a significant number of trips to the free-throw line.

But, associate head coach Steven Pearl argued the results would likely have been different if Baker-Mazara had been on the court for the duration of the game.

“We beat Yale by 20 points if Chad is in that game,” Pearl said on March 19 on “The Next Round” show. “I don’t want to dance around that. I’m not trying to, obviously, disrespect Yale, but we’re way better than they are and we should’ve beat them without him.”

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Baker-Mazara entered the first round matchup with Yale averaging 10.3 points. But, he did not score prior to the ejection.

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