Baylor won its first NCAA men's basketball championship 86–70 on Monday in a one-sided duel with Gonzaga. The Bears gave the Zags their first taste of defeat this season and kept them from being the first team since 1976 to win the NCAA men's basketball tourney undefeated.
Both teams entered Indianapolis as No. 1 seeds but the unblemished Zags seemed like the perennial favorites until Baylor's backcourt and defense punched Gonzaga right in the mouth from the tip.
Baylor started off on a 9–0 run, and it didn't help that Gonzaga's Final Four hero guard Jalen Suggs found himself on the bench because of early foul trouble. Baylor's shooting combined with Gonzaga's inability to take care of the ball ballooned into a 19-point lead for the former at one point.
But the Zags adjusted and switched to a zone defense to stop the bleeding but still went into halftime with a 47–37 deficit. Gonzaga turned the ball over eight times and was just 1-for-6 from behind the arc in the first half.
Gonzaga was able to cut it to single digits briefly out of halftime, but Baylor blew its lead wide open again. The Bears went up by as much as 20 and it never looked back.
The Bears were led by junior Jared Butler with 22 points on an efficient 4-for-9 shooting from the three-point line. Senior MaCio Teague wasn't far behind with 19 points.
Suggs lead the Zags with 22 points in the loss and All-Americans sophomore Drew Timme and senior Corey Kispert chipped in with 12 points each. Gonzaga ended the day shooting 5-for-17 (29.4%) from deep.
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