INDIANAPOLIS — An undefeated season seemed over earlier than the first TV timeout.
No. 1 seed Baylor could not have scripted a greater begin, and general No. 1 seed Gonzaga could not have scripted a worse one. The Bears’ protection was smothering the Bulldogs into turnovers, the star guard trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell was capturing lights out, and Zags buzzer-beating hero Jalen Suggs received into early foul hassle.
The Bulldogs by no means recovered from that early knockout blow and watched their excellent season unravel as Baylor bulldozed its manner to its first ever nationwide championship in a 86-70 win Monday night time.
In a closely hyped nationwide championship recreation between two tremendous groups that had been title-driven since final 12 months’s NCAA Tournament cancelation, Baylor got here out firing on all cylinders – making its first 5 three-pointers and ending 46% from past the arc. All-American Butler (22 factors, seven assists)and All Big 12 guard Teague (19 factors) have been draining pull-ups all night time, whereas nationwide defensive participant of the 12 months Davion Mitchell (13 factors) was drawing fees and irritating Suggs.
The “B-U” cheers echoed throughput Lucas Oil Stadium, and the coronation was in movement halfway by the second half. The Zags minimize the deficit to 9 off an Andrew Nembhard lay-up with 14:30 left, however by no means received nearer.
Whether it was Baylor’s Flo Thamba swatting a Corey Kispert lay-up into the third row within the first half or Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua slamming an Adam Flagler alley-oop within the second, a crew that had received 31 consecutive instances earlier than Monday seemed severely out-matched towards the gritty, high-energy Bears (28-2).
Suggs led Gonzaga with 22 factorshowever his playmaking was at all times countered by a Baylor three-pointer or matching bucket. Drew Timme added 12 factors however that frontcourt edge did not offset a dominant backcourt battle received by Baylor and the Zags have been out-rebounded 36-19.
The Bulldogs (31-1) have been coming off an exciting extra time win over UCLA within the nationwide semifinal when Suggs’ buzzer-beating banked three despatched the Zags to the title recreation. Yet they seemed flat from the get-go and by the point they received their legs, it was too late. Gonzaga joins a bunch of groups that got here shut to matching Indiana’s historic 32-Zero season, however finally fell quick.
“It’s a really really tough one to end a storybook season on, but listen, Baylor just beat us. They beat us in every facet of the game and deserve all the credit,” mentioned Gonzaga coach Mark Few.
Baylor wins its first nationwide title in program historical past, having completed as nationwide runner-up in 1948. The championship is a end result of an epic rebuild by coach Scott Drew, who took over an ailing program within the aftermath of controversy in 2003. The loss means coach Mark Few is now 0-2 in nationwide championship video games, together with his Bulldogs having misplaced to North Carolina within the nationwide title recreation in 2017.
Follow school basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.