It was a game pretty much everyone thought Gonzaga would win. But Baylor came out to prove everyone wrong. And boy, did they ever.
The Bears dominated from the start, and never let up defeating the Zags 86-70.
Gonzaga was the best team in college basketball this season, but they weren't the best team today. It happens.
— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) April 6, 2021
It had been 73 years since the Baylor Bears had even played for a National Championship. And they showed they still have what it takes, earning the program’s first National Championship title. Baylor came out like a brick wall on defense, limiting Gonzaga to just ten points ten minutes into the first half.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 6, 2021
Jared Butler led Baylor with 22 points and seven assists. MaCio Teague added 19 points of his own.
Baylor had 16 second-chance points and 21 from its bench. The Bears shot 44.8%, going 30-67 from the field. They also added 10 made threes and went 16-18 from the free-throw line.
The Bears dominated on the rebound front, outrebounding the Zags 34-17. Gonzaga also had double the turnovers, with 14 to Baylor’s seven.
How it Happened
The Bears came out and completely stunned the Zags, starting the game on a 9-0 run.
Baylor showed up from the beginning on offense and defense, barely even allowing Gonzaga into the paint. And the Bulldogs had no answers on either side of the court. The Bears started going 5-5 from beyond the arc in the first five minutes.
Gonzaga is first in the country in scoring at 91.6 points per game.
The Zags have 10 points at the midway point of the first half.
Baylor’s defense, man. Insane.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 6, 2021
In just seven minutes of play, Baylor was able to give the Zags their largest deficit of the season. The Bears shot 50% in the first half, sinking 7-12 threes. Baylor dominated on the rebounding front, securing nine offensive rebounds to Gonzaga’s eight total rebounds.
What really kept the Zags somewhat in the game was their free throws. Gonzaga went 12-13 from the charity stripe, while Baylor only went 2-2. Despite Gonzaga’s field goal percentage at the half (54.5%), Baylor went into the half leading 47-37.
BAYLOR NOT MESSING AROUND 😤
They lead Gonzaga 47-37 at the HALF 🐻
— Overtime (@overtime) April 6, 2021
The threes didn’t stop for Baylor in the second half either. The Bears scored back-to-back threes to start the second half. Their defense did not let up either, putting a stop to most of the Zags’ shots.
Corey Kispert then checked out of the game early in the second with an apparent shoulder injury. He shook it off and came back in quickly though. Halftime did not do Gonzaga’s defense any favors though, coming back out looking as defeated as they did in the first half.
Gonzaga's winning on paint points 34-24.
But they're getting destroyed on the boards (24-13), can't shoot threes (1/8) or stop turning it over (10-4) or giving up points off those TOs (17-6) or 2nd chance points (12-2).
The biggest issue: Baylor's taken 55 shots to their 34.
— Polar Ginger (@PolarGinger) April 6, 2021
Flo Thamba and Tchamwa Tchatchoua had to exit the game for Baylor, picking up their fourth fouls with 14 minutes left in the game. The Zags got Baylor’s lead down to single-digits, but huge defensive plays from the Bears had them up by 16 in no time.
The threes were not flying for Gonzaga like normal, sitting at just 1-8 eight minutes into the second half. And they couldn’t ever seem to get them going to get themselves back in the game. Baylor also continued to dominate on rebounds, outrebounding Gonzaga 26-14 halfway through the second half.
Drew Timme also joined Thamba and Tchatchoua on the bench after picking up his fourth foul. It wasn’t much longer before Thamba had fouled out of the game. Timme wasn’t just out on foul trouble though. A trainer began working on him almost immediately after leaving the game with an apparent hip injury.
He was also quick to be back on the floor though. But having him back still didn’t seem to make much of a difference.