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Baylor spoils Gonzaga’s unbeaten season to win national title

Baylor spoils Gonzaga’s unbeaten season to win national title

  • Baylor forward Flo Thamba, left, battles for a rebound with Gonzaga forward Drew Timme during the first half of Monday’s national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Baylor forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua dunks the ball during the second half of Monday’s national championship game against Gonzaga at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears and Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs fight for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Baylor guard Jared Butler (12) shoots between Gonzaga forward Anton Watson, left, and guard Andrew Nembhard (3) during the second half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme loses control of the ball ahead of Baylor guard Mark Vital, rear, during the second half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs defends against Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates after making a basket during the second half of the championship game against Baylor in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears falls to the ground in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Head coach Scott Drew of the Baylor Bears looks on during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears reacts against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) passes around Baylor forward Flo Thamba, right, during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Matthew Mayer #24 of the Baylor Bears attempts to steal the ball from Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Adam Flagler #10 of the Baylor Bears defends against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears defends against Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs defends against Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes up for a basket against the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Gonzaga Bulldogs fans cheer during the first half against the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs shoots the ball against Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 and Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs react in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears dives for a loose ball against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Joel Ayayi #11 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes for a lay up during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears fight for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears defends against a lay up by Andrew Nembhard #3 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears battle for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears drives to the basket as Joel Ayayi #11 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs defends in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes up for a basket against the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears and Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs fight for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears and Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs fight for a rebound during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears battle for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears battle for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes for a lay up against Flo Thamba #0 and Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Fans look on during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes up for a basket against the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears battle for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes for the lay up against Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Matthew Mayer #24 of the Baylor Bears takes a shot as Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs defends in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 and Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears defend against Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears and Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs fight for a rebound in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Matthew Mayer #24 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 fight for a rebound against Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears battle for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes up to the basket against Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs dribbles against MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears during the first half in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears and Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs dive for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • Baylor forward Flo Thamba fights for a loose ball with Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears and Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs dive for a loose ball in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • Gonzaga head coach Mark Few reacts on the bench during the first half of the championship game against Baylor in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Aaron Cook #4 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs plays defense against Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs goes to the basket against MaCio Teague #31 of the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, left, shoots over Baylor forward Flo Thamba during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor head coach Scott Drew directs his team during the first half of the championship game against Gonzaga in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor guard MaCio Teague (31) celebrates after making a 3-point basket during the first half of the championship game against Gonzaga in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme, left, fights for a loose ball with Baylor guard MaCio Teague, right, during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor guard Adam Flagler is fouled by Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert (24) during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) blocks a shot by Baylor guard Davion Mitchell (45) during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor forward Flo Thamba (0) celebrates after blocking a shot by Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert (24) fouls Baylor guard Adam Flagler (10) during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor forward Flo Thamba shoots over Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert, left, during the first half of the championship game in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: L.J. Cryer #4 of the Baylor Bears celebrates after winning the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears goes to the basket against Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears reacts during the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Flo Thamba #0 and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears react on the bench after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • Baylor head coach Scott Drew gets a hug from guard Mark Vital at the end of the championship game against Gonzaga in the men’s Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Baylor guard Davion Mitchell, left, and Baylor guard Mark Vital celebrate at the end of their national championship game victory over Gonzaga on Monday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor never trailed in its 86-70 win. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 and Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears celebrate after The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Drew Timme #2 hugs Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs after losing to the Baylor Bears in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jalen Suggs #1, Corey Kispert #24, Andrew Nembhard #3 and Drew Timme #2 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs react after losing the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: MaCio Teague #31 and Flo Thamba #0 of the Baylor Bears celebrate after The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 and Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears celebrate after The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Julian Strawther #0 and Jalen Suggs #1 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs react after losing the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament to the Baylor Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Davion Mitchell #45 of the Baylor Bears celebrates on the court after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears celebrates on the court after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Mark Vital #11 of the Baylor Bears celebrates on the court after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua #23 of the Baylor Bears celebrates on the court after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

  • INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – APRIL 05: Matthew Mayer #24 and Jared Butler #12 of the Baylor Bears celebrate after defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

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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.

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.

Or sooner.

Baylor was up 9-0 after 2½ minutes and the Bulldogs faced only their fourth double-digit deficit of the season at 11-1. They faced their biggest deficit of the season — 15 points — with 7:10 gone. By then, Suggs had two fouls and was watching from the bench.

He tried hard to breathe some fire into his teammates, or the Zags fans — who made about as much noise as the cardboard cutouts that were scattered through Lucas Oil Stadium to make it seem full.

“Let’s …. go!” Suggs screamed after he got fouled on a layup early in the second half. He missed the free throw.

But more than anything in the title game, it was Suggs’ memorable basket two nights earlier that laid the groundwork for this one. His bank shot at the buzzer capped one of the most riveting college basketball games ever. Back on the floor about 46 hours after that emotional roller coaster, it was clear the Zags were gassed.

The sequence that best illustrated the energy gap came about six minutes into the contest when Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua slapped the ball out of Drew Timme’s hands and the Bears worked the ball ahead to Mitchell. He missed a layup, but Tchamwa Tchatchoua got the offensive rebound and fed Adam Flagler for a 3-pointer.

Gonzaga was practically just standing there for it all.

This was one of the most anticipated title games in recent history, a meeting of the two best teams from the last two seasons — this one and 2020, when COVID-19 scrapped the action before tournament time. They were scheduled to meet this season in Indy, on Dec. 5, but a COVID-19 outbreak on the Gonzaga team ended those plans.

But the game didn’t live up to the hype, and it was out of hand early.

Baylor had nine offensive rebounds in the first half that led to nine second-chance points, and wore down the Zags on defense. Gonzaga shot 54% from the floor over the first 20 minutes but Baylor had 16 more attempts — the kind of math that doesn’t add up for a team playing in the title game.

One glimmer of hope for the Zags came when Tchamwa Tchatchoua joined another Baylor big man, Flo Thamba, on the bench with four fouls with 14:43 left.

Andrew Nembhard’s basket on the next possession cut Gonzaga’s deficit below double digits for the first time since early. Baylor answered with a 9-2 run punctuated by Mark Vital’s rejection of Corey Kispert, then a fast break that led to an easy 3 from Flagler.

It was over from there. Yes, Gonzaga might have been the year’s most watchable team with its dramatic run at perfection, to say nothing of the shot of the tournament.

But Baylor was cutting down the nets.

It’s the culmination of an 18-year rebuild, the likes of which no program has ever seen.

Coach Scott Drew took over a roster with only seven scholarship players and a team staring at years of NCAA probation in the wake of the murder of player Patrick Dennehy by a teammate in 2003. The Bears won only 21 games over Drew’s first three years.

It took a lot of imagination and more than a little faith to believe a day like this might happen.

It took the same thing to hang a loss on the Bulldogs.

But that kind of loss? Only Baylor could’ve seen that one coming.

More to come on this story.


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