Baylor Ends Gonzaga's Perfect Season

The Bears win their first NCAA men's basketball championship
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2021 10:59 PM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2021 12:07 AM CDT
Baylor Ends Gonzaga's Perfect Season
Fans pose with a mock championship trophy before Baylor plays Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament championship basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Monday, April 5, 2021.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Baylor knew it would need to play to near-perfection to end Gonzaga's flawless season. The Bears just about did. Jared Butler and their dynamic backcourt hit their first five 3-pointers and never cooled off. Undersized big man Mark Vital delivered as many headaches as bruises. Their bench was superb, their rebounding exceptional, their game plan impeccable and the coaching of Scott Drew spot-on in the crowning moment of his long building job in Waco, Texas. The result was a stunning 86-70 rout of the overall No. 1 seed for the first men's basketball title in school history, the AP reports.

The teams were supposed to play in December in Indianapolis, but an outbreak of COVID-19 within the Gonzaga program forced the game to be called off. The two teams spent most of the regular season ranked 1-2 in the AP poll, and they were anointed the co-favorites for a most unique NCAA Tournament played entirely in central Indiana. Despite only 8,000 fans in the crowd, the vast majority of them wearing green and gold, there was a palpable excitement about the game. The Bears roared to a 29-10 lead midway through the first half, the biggest deficit Gonzaga had faced all year, and threatened to turn that highly anticipated showdown into a nationally televised blowout. More on the game here.

(More NCAA basketball stories.)

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