Following the first ejection of coach Scott Drew’s career, Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said he couldn’t stay quiet about the officiating after the No. 18 Bears‘ 70-68 win over No. 12 Iowa State in Waco, Texas, calling it “an embarrassment for this league.”
Baylor led 54-44 midway through the second half when Drew was hit with his second technical foul for stepping outside the coaching box, leading to an ejection. Iowa State launched a 17-0 run to take a 61-54 lead after the ejection.
“I’m not somebody that calls the officials or calls the league after every game,” Rhoades told reporters. “In fact, I never call when it comes to officiating. It’s always about, ‘We need to play better, we need to execute better, we need to play tougher,’ all of those things. But tonight was an embarrassment for this league. We have the best basketball league in the country, and the officiating tonight did not match it. Period. End of story.”
Late in the first half, Baylor had a 15-point edge over the Cyclones, who climbed back into the game in the second half. Jayden Nunn‘s layup with two seconds to play to put Baylor ahead. Iowa State’s Milan Momcilovic hit a deep 3-pointer, but it was waved off after officials determined the shot went off after the buzzer.
Drew had coached 706 games in his career and never been ejected before Saturday. He said he was happy to see his team rally without him. He said he did not get “an explanation” for his ejection.
“Obviously, I’m pretty excited right now,” Drew said. “Really proud of the staff and what they were able to accomplish. Real excited about the players rallying. Obviously, I’ve never been kicked out. I haven’t tried to get kicked out, otherwise I probably would have been kicked out before.”
In 2017, the coaching box was extended to give coaches more room on the sideline. But it’s common to see coaches step outside the box during a game. The 2023-24 NCAA men’s basketball rulebook listed the monitoring of the coaching box as a point of concern this season.
“Additional focus/attention should be given to the consistent enforcement of bench decorum, the coaching box and unsporting conduct rules for both players and bench personnel,” the rulebook says.
Even though coaches can be reprimanded for leaving the coaching box, the punishment rarely goes beyond a stern warning.
Rhoades said he will reach out to the Big 12 office.
“This league needs to get better when we think about our officiating,” he said. “And we have some great, great officials. But this particular crew tonight did not match the level of this game. And that shouldn’t happen in this league. I’m going to fight for our program. I’m going to fight for our school. I’m going to fight for our coaches. We’re going to fight for our student-athletes. I’ll be on the phone tomorrow.”