By Byler Henry
The Bears basketball team defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86 – 70 in the Division I title game, which was being held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gonzaga was looking to have a perfect season just like the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers.
Baylor got off to a hot start jumping to an early 19 point lead, forcing turnovers, making shots, and outrebounding Gonzaga. Baylor’s three guards Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell combined for 56 points (22,19, and 15). Baylor was also able to outrebound Gonzaga with 16 offensive rebounds and 38 total to Gonzaga’s 5 offensive rebounds and 22 total. Mark Vital, Flo Thamba, and Davion Mitchell combined for a total of 23 of Baylor’s rebounds (11, 6, and 6). “We play with a culture of joy,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “They fed off of each other, we got off to a great start.”
Saturday during the previous round of the tournament, Gonzaga had a thrilling overtime victory against UCLA 93-90. It appeared as though they were still a bit sluggish from the start, during the second half they managed to cut the lead to single digits but were never able to take the lead at any point. Head Coach of Gonzaga Mark Few won’t let this loss take away from their accomplishment of going 31-1. “You can’t go to 31-0 and get to the last night and get beat and feel bad about it. It was just an unbelievable run we’ve been on.” “I just said this will pass,” Few said. “We got to give Baylor a ton of credit. But just remember what an amazing, amazing year, what an amazing accomplishment, even getting to this point, was.”
This was Baylor’s first NCAA basketball Championship win, the last time they have made it to the championship was 1948. They have made it to the final four round three times (1948, 1950, 2021), the elite eight round six times (1946, 1948, 1950, 2010, 2012, 2021), sweet sixteen round five times (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2021), round of 32 six times (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2021), and thirteen tournament appearances (1946, 1948, 1950, 1988, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021). Scott Drew has been coaching the team since 2003, when he took over after Dave Bliss stepped down as head coach amidst the 2003 scandal. Congratulations to Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears basketball team, for their first championship.