Indianapolis – There was an analogy about Gonzaga’s arrival in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game – the unbeaten Zags, who bid to become the undisputed champions for the first time since Indiana, the state’s premier basketball school, last achieved the feat in 1976. was achieved.
He collided with Gonzaga, the small Jesuit school northwest on the low urbane shore of the Cascade Range, rolled over with a freewheeling offense that would appeal Basketball Cognosynti’s sensitivity to “Hoosiers”, Everything was better.
A Gonzaga victory would have put a bow in a mismatch season played through a coronovirus epidemic, when about five matches had one – The tournament also includes a first round matchup. – The weeks were called off without some teams being able to play.
However, Baylor had other ideas, with a goalless ball defense and 3-pointers hail for those plans, completely ruining Gonzaga’s bid for an accurate season on Monday night, Lucas Oil Stadium Claiming with 86–70 victory in. First championship of the program.
Baylor’s guard trio, advertised as the best in the country, was good with Jared Butler scoring 22 points with 7 points in its billing, Davion Mitchell adding 15 points and 5 assists, and MaCio Teague Contributed 19 points. And the Baylor defense held the Zags to a season-low point total.
As the final buzzer began to ring, the Beers – who were eliminated by Gonzaga in the second round two years ago – were off the bench and the court they had been eyeing for a long time.
Butler, the tournament’s most outstanding player, said, “It’s hard to win this year before we stop and stop trials and sacrifice your social life.” Athletes spend more than three weeks in an Indianapolis hotel, Playing in front of less crowds And left before coming in contact With their families. “Sometimes there are no fans, sometimes it’s hard for these games to get up.”
He said: “It was great to say that in the midst of adversity, amidst the tribulations, and to bring it home for Baylor, it is amazing.”
As Baylor observed, Gonzaga players hooded in front of their benches, arms gripping each other with an unfamiliar feeling on their shoulders, leading to their first loss in 14 months.
“You really forget what it is to lose,” said Gonzaga senior forward Corey Kispert. “And every time it happens, it doesn’t feel good.”
After the close of the season at the end of November, the Bears (28–2) were placed in the shadow of Gonzaga (31–1), and they entered the tournament as they entered the season – as the second-placed team country.
As Baylor defeated Houston in a semifinal on Saturday night, Gonzaga had less than 48 hours to recover. From overtime slugfest with UCLA It was physically emotionally drained. He stopped the No. 11 seeded Bruins only when Jalan Suggas fired a shot at the buzzer from half the court.
The Zags got out on their feet at the starting end.
When jumpball goes up at the beginning of a basketball championship game, the football stadiums where the title events are staged are usually pulsed with energy. But due to local health restrictions, the floor of this stadium was closed to half of the black curtain and only a little over 20 percent of the building was filled with seats.
If energy was not supplied by the crowd, Beers brought himself in, scoring the first 9 points of the game and Gonzaga never drew closer than 8. Baylor, the best 3-point shooting team in the country during the regular season, met his standard by making 10 shots behind the arc. Beers also dominated the board, beating Gonzaga 38-22, and limiting the breakneck Zags to 15 fast-break points.
“I never felt like we played with that weight all year,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I always felt we were aggressive and we always were – I call it the attacking mode. We ran into a team tonight – which was clearly offensive.”
The first team since 1948 joined Baylor, Texas, in the championship game, winning a title – the second Texas-Western, with its first win in 1966 with an all-black lineup.
If Gonzaga was trying to complete his rise as a national champion from the basketball backwaters over the past two decades, the Beers title covered a climb from a much deeper position. When Baylor coach Scott Drew was hired 18 years ago, it was one after the other The game’s most notorious scam Around that time a Baylor player killed another coach and urged his other players to lie to investigators.
Bayer won 21 games in the first three seasons under Drew, who tried for a walk-on in the early years. Twice The Bears were defeated in a regional final and were set to receive top seed in the tournament last year. Before it was wiped out by the epidemic.
“We were not going to have any regrets with this tournament,” Drew said. “We were going to leave it on the court.”
This rare matchup of top-order teams was a long time coming.
The two coaches, Drew and some, have a close relationship. Bayrel has two assistants who have worked or played for a few; Gonzaga has one who has worked for Drew’s brother Bryce. Koch is fond of fishermen – “He is the king of fly fishing; I think I’m the king of bass fishing, ” Drew said – and has teamed up during his time in Indianapolis as a pickle’s ball partner, here praying and greeting each other before each game Send a text message to
Their scheduled game in Indianapolis on December 5 was canceled 90 minutes before tipoff due to a positive test within Gondaga’s travel party.
As Drew and some were coming back to their hotel after the news conference, they joked about meeting again in April. Nevertheless, he tried furiously to reschedule the game, in part due to his obligation to broadcast it to the partner, but he also thought that such a matchup would draw attention to the game when many viewers focused on football.
He also considered Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Mo., Phoenix, and Sioux Falls, SD – Fort Worth, Texas, though it was also close to some bare home games.
“Our pointless humanitarian plans,” some called the arrangements.
Baylor, along with Gonarga, kept pace for three months, until it was thrown by Coronavirus. Beers, who won his first 18 games, did not play for 21 days in early February. When they returned, they barely survived against Iowa State, the final-placed team in the Big 12 Conference, and then lost in Kansas. They managed to win their next four games before being beaten by Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament.
A lockdown defense was suddenly leaked.
“You can’t be good at defense and can’t practice it for three weeks, four weeks, five weeks,” said Drew, whose team played so many times when it returned to practice for weeks in the middle of the postseason tournament There was very little time. At a time when coaches dial back to practice, Drew pushed his players hard.
“Our players really bought that our defense was slipping,” he said.
The Beers beat their six tournament opponents by an average of 61.7 points per game, including Gonzaga, Houston and Villanova, three of the nation’s top seven most efficient offenses, According to statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy.
An indication of Beyler’s priorities came at an early tip when it placed National Defensive Player of the Year Dyeong Mitchell, and not the Suggs, a freshman who is expected to be one of the top picks in the NBA draft, but Kispert, a sharpshooting forward who is in the tournament. K was away from his form for most of the time.
If Mitchell could neutralize Kispert, Byers had the muscle, agility and dogma to handle everyone. This quickly proved to be a clever assessment.
The Zaggers’ sympathetic offense was knocked into the catwamps by Baylor’s relentless defense. And at the other end, Gonzaga’s defense as a parade of Bears propelled their opponents to let-ins and openings in previous resistance, in-rhythm looks for the best 3-point shooting team in the country. Baylor made his first five 3-pointers and put Gonzaga into a 23-8 hole with just a little over 7 minutes left in the game – the biggest of the season.
“The start of the game was tremendous,” Butler said. “We didn’t look at the scoreboard – we just went there and gave it our all.”
It was a sign of Gonzaga’s frustration that the Zags – who found themselves trailing by 19 points – turned into a zone defense.
Each time Gonzaga took the lead in the second half, but it could not go together enough stops to get close to the Beers. The Suggs stirred up the crowd and their teammates after being trimmed for a pair of their team-high-22 points. But when Drew Taimy picked up a pair of his third and fourth quick fouls, and went to the bench at 11:36 left, it made the climb even harder – and ultimately fruitless.
The feeling of falling is a familiar one for Gonzaga, who lost to North Carolina in 2017 in a taught final. Perhaps because the game was not so close – or due to extraordinary measures for college basketball to reach this point – some people said the weather would not be as bad as it had been.
“Listen, I said you can’t go 31-0 and reach last night and beat up and feel bad about it,” some said, “so I just passed it.” Will be done and you have to give Baylor a ton of credit but remember what a wonderful, wonderful year, what a wonderful achievement was also happening at this point. “
The point where an incomplete season fell short of a perfect ending.
Adam Zagoria, Gillian R. Brasil And Lauren Gewirtz Contributed to reporting.