Baylor ends Gonzaga’s perfect season with Texas-sized story books
Baylor’s national championship season can’t be missed to perfection.
It’s true that perfection was lost: The Bears ended Gonzaga’s 32-0 season 86-70 victory In the NCAA National Championship. Baylor – whose bet on perfection ended on Feb. 27 when they lost 71-58 to Kansas – ruined the Bulldog’s chances of being the first undefeated team in Indiana in 1975-76.
The Bears (28-2) achieved this with a near-perfect two-way performance in the championship that was a great backdrop for the COVID-19 forever.
“After being in the bubble for 30 days, you start not wanting to be around each other,” Baylor guard Jared Butler said. “I don’t know how we overcame it, but we got it. We loved each other. We played so many games in Connect Four.”
The Bears found the winning combination in the Final Four. Baylor beat Houston 78-59 in the national semifinals and finished with a 17.5-point lead in two games per game. The only schools in the period of extended parenthesis they were better at that stage were 2015-16 Villanova (23.5 points per game) and 1989-90 UNLV (19.5 ppg). That’s a reputable company that deserves it.
That should have been the crowning of the long-awaited Gonzaga national championship. The Bulldogs won UCLA in the Quarterfinals Jalen Suggs ’overtime buzzer beat on Saturday for a 93-90 victory. That was it one of the largest shots in one of the biggest games in tournament history. Monday seemed like a logical place to crown one of the biggest sports teams.
However, Baylor coach Scott Drew was inspired by one of the school’s greatest football players to motivate this team.
“One thing I can say about our boys is that when the best is needed, the best is usually given,” Drew said. “(Robert Griffin III) as he would always say,” without pressure. Without diamonds. “Our boys, the better the opponent, the better they play. They love being the first. The first to win a conference since 1950. The first to win a national championship. That really motivated them.”
With that, Baylor had the biggest possible start to the national title. The Bears jumped to a 9-0 lead and then an 11-1 lead in the first segment – with the help of two quick fouls by Suggs. Gonzaga was the biggest deficit he faced in the entire tournament. Baylor extended it to 33-14 in the first half with 7:51, then made zero turnovers.
The Bears built the leader with a new-era championship defense and a 3-point shot. Baylor scored 12 points to 7 points with a 3-point lead in the first half, combined with 24 points from MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell. Gonzaga was 7 to 1 from that stretch, but the Bulldogs managed to get back to 10, reducing Baylor’s 47-37 advantage at halftime.
“We’re very good on defense, and I thought we did things hard tonight,” Drew said. “Gonzaga probably missed some of the shots they normally do. I really recognize our boys for having difficulties.”
Butler scored a 3-point lead to start the second half with 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Gonzaga narrowed the lead to nine, but Baylor ended the game with a perfect 7-0 lead that left the game effective.
Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert went to the basket, but Mark Vital blocked his shot. Adam Flagler bounced off Butler to start the break, and gave Flagler a cross from the ground – burying the 3-point lead with a 67-51 lead with 12:52 left.
Gonzaga did not threaten Baylor again. The Bears ended the Bulldogs ’perfect season, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great story. After all, everything in Texas is bigger, right?
“Hey Texas, we also have a national championship,” Bayonne coach Scott Drew shouted at the presentation. “The state deserves it.”
It came from the most difficult place. The Bears became the first school in Texas to win the Texas Western National Championship (now UTEP) in 1966 to beat Kentucky 72-65. Baylor (1948) and Houston (1983, 1984) were the only other schools in Texas that played in the state. tournament match before Monday.
Bears legalized the Big 12 and since Oklahoma became the A&M (now Oklahoma State) in 1946, Kansas has not become the first school to win a national championship. his six opponents averaged 15.3 ppg for the defense. The best comparison would be Michigan State, which in 2000 won its six games by an equal margin.
For Drew, it was the end of his 18-08 career that began in the first season of 2003-04 with an 8-21 season.
Baylor also won its first national championship since the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced it to cancel the 2020 men’s and women’s basketball championships. It was the unexpected result of an unprecedented time in the history of our country, and it reminded us that perfection is not always what it seems. Nothing should be lost in that, even at Gonzaga’s expense. He was named the NCAA champion for the first time, as he did in 2019 with Virginia.
Connect Four to Final Four. That’s how Butler, the most notable player in the tournament, will remember this race.
“I think winning this year is harder than ever,” Butler said. “Stops, trials and sacrifices for your social life to be able to play basketball games. It’s great that we were able to play and that the tournament could move forward. It’s nice to say we could do that. This is one of the misfortunes.”