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Longtime Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl has spoken out about Chad Baker-Mazara’s early ejection from the Tigers’ first round loss in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Baker-Mazara was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul less than four minutes into the game against Yale on March 22. Despite acknowledging that Baker-Mazara made a mistake, Pearl believes the call was tough and had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. He also defended Baker-Mazara against criticism from the Auburn faithful, urging them to stop attacking him on social media.

Pearl emphasized Baker-Mazara’s importance to the team, stating that losing him early in the game was disruptive and affected Auburn’s performance on both ends of the floor. The team’s inability to maintain possession of the basketball and the significant number of turnovers they committed contributed to their defeat against Yale. Associate head coach Steven Pearl expressed confidence that the outcome would have been different if Baker-Mazara had remained in the game, believing that Auburn would have beaten Yale by 20 points with him on the court.

While Baker-Mazara is a key part of Auburn’s rotation and a top playmaker, he did not score in the game against Yale before the ejection. Pearl believes that Baker-Mazara’s absence had a significant impact on the game and that the outcome would have been different if he had been able to play the full game. The junior guard entered the matchup averaging 10.3 points, and his ejection disrupted Auburn’s game plan and performance throughout the game.

Despite the disappointment of the early ejection and loss in the tournament, Pearl urged the Auburn family to support Baker-Mazara and stop criticizing him on social media. He defended Baker-Mazara as a valuable player and member of the team, calling out those who continue to attack him online. Pearl’s focus is on moving forward and supporting his players, emphasizing the need for unity and solidarity within the Auburn basketball community.

Pearl’s remarks highlight the challenges and emotions involved in competitive sports, where calls by officials can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game. The controversy surrounding Baker-Mazara’s ejection and the subsequent criticism from fans underscore the intensity and passion that sports evoke among players and fans alike. Pearl’s defense of Baker-Mazara and call for support reflect his commitment to his players and his desire to create a positive and united environment within the Auburn basketball program.

Overall, Pearl’s statements shed light on the complexities of coaching, player dynamics, and the pressure of competing at a high level in collegiate sports. Despite the disappointing loss in the NCAA tournament, Pearl remains steadfast in his support for his players and his determination to move forward from the setback. His message to the Auburn family to stand behind Baker-Mazara and stop the criticism demonstrates his leadership and loyalty to his team, emphasizing the importance of unity and support in the face of adversity.

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