Baylor spoils Gonzaga’s undefeated bid to win first title

The Baylor Bears did their best New York Giants impression Monday night by knocking off undefeated Gonzaga 86-70 to earn their first men’s basketball national title in school history. 

Gonzaga entered the game as heavy favorites with the chance to become the first team to go undefeated since North Carolina in 2009. Meanwhile, Baylor was riding high from making their first Final Four appearance since 1950. 

In an unforeseen twist, Baylor dominated the game from the start, as they opened on a 9-0 run. The Bears kept their foot on the gas, leading 29-10 after 10 minutes and 47-37 at halftime. Any pushback that Gonzaga attempted to give in the second half was effectively smothered by Baylor, as they cruised to a 86-70 win and their first national title. 

The highlight of Baylor’s game was their stifling defense. Not only did Gonzaga only manage one offensive rebound, but their 70 points were far from their season average of 92. 

Baylor also made sure to take care of the ball. As they actively tried to limit Gonzaga’s time of possession, the Bears only allowed four steals and gave up seven turnovers. 

While four Baylor players put up double-digit nights, it was junior Jared Butler who led the team with 22 points. On the defensive side, senior Mark Vital dominated the floor with 11 rebounds. 

“Our guys have been motivated all year,” said Baylor head coach Scott Drew, reflecting on the season. “It’s a player led team. We’re so blessed to have unbelievable upper-class men and leadership, but we play with a culture of joy.” 

Baylor’s first men’s basketball national title comes exactly 16 years after the women’s program won their first national championship. 


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