April 5, 2021

Bears win title, hang 86-70 loss on Gonzaga

Bears win title, hang 86-70 loss on Gonzaga



INDIANAPOLIS — Heck, everyone’s entitled to an off night. But that beatdown Baylor put on undefeated Gonzaga with the national title on the line — nobody saw that coming.

The fresh-as-can-be Bears obliterated wobbly-legged Gonzaga’s march to perfection Monday night in an 86-70 runaway that brought this once-downtrodden program’s first national title back home to Waco, Texas.

Jared Butler scored 22 points and MaCio Teague had 19 for the Bears (28-2), who were ranked second or third in the AP poll all year long — but never first, all because of one team.

Pounding the offensive glass and scrapping for — and winning — the lion’s share of the 50-50 balls, Baylor never let this one come down to a Jalen Suggs miracle. The Gonzaga freshman’s buzzer-beater from near the half-court logo got the Zags to the final in a game that stood as their first true test of the season.

They passed against UCLA. Against Baylor? Not even close.

After running to a 19-point lead early, the Bears never let Gonzaga get any closer than nine. Butler made four 3-pointers and added seven assists, and was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player.

“They came out, they fed off each other, we got off to a great start and defensively, we’re pretty good,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said.

Sure are.

Guard Davion Mitchell — nicknamed “Off Night” because so many opponents encounter one when they go against him — finished with 15 points and did his best on Suggs. The freshman finished with 22 points — most of them after the Zags were well into desperation mode — and likely will be heading to the NBA lottery next.

Gonzaga’s first loss in 32 games this season — 36 dating to 2019-20 — leaves Indiana’s 1975-76 team as the last to go undefeated. If Bob May, Quinn Buckner and the rest of coach Bob Knight’s team were keeping champagne cold to celebrate — a la the perfect ’72 Miami Dolphins — they could’ve uncorked it by halftime.



2021-04-05 23:56:54

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