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Last Updated: April 8, 2021

Baylor Bears Defeat Gonzaga Bulldogs to Win 2021 NCAA National Championship

Introduction

On Monday, April 5th, 2021 the Baylor Bears defeated the previously undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs to win the 2020-2021 men’s NCAA national championship. The final score of the game played in Indianapolis, Indiana was the Baylor Bears 86 and the Gonzaga Bulldogs 70. The Baylor Bears were clearly the better basketball team on Monday night, and they dominated in the majority of most aspects of the game on both sides of the ball.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs were headed in to the 2020-2021 men’s NCAA national championship game with an overall undefeated record of 31 and 0. It was a great season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but they lost the most important game of the year as they fell one game short of becoming the first undefeated national champions since the Indiana Hoosiers accomplished that in 1976. This was the first men’s basketball NCAA national championship for the Baylor Bears, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are still chasing their first men’s basketball NCAA national championship title.

The head coach of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Mark Few, had this to say following the tough loss, “You try to do everything within your power to flip the switch. But yeah, it was tough. When they're consistently just more aggressive on both ends, it was hard to generate rhythm. We'd score a couple of times, we couldn't ever get consecutive stops to kind of close some gaps. Then we didn't help ourselves — we turned the ball over, we missed free throws.”

Strong Defensive Effort

Although Gonzaga shot a solid 51 % from the field, the Bulldogs scored their season-low 70 points in the national championship game. Heading into the ball game the Gonzaga Bulldogs were leading the country by averaging a national-high 91.6 points per game, and the reason for this discrepancy was quite obvious. The Baylor Bears played and executed exceptionally well on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears were extremely aggressive defensively and Baylor was a bigger and stronger team overall.

The Rebounding Factor

Baylor also dominated Gonzaga on the glass as the Bears outrebounded the Bulldogs 38 to 22. The Baylor Bears pulled down 16 offensive rebounds while the Gonzaga Bulldogs only grabbed 5 offensive rebounds. This led to many more second and third chance opportunities for Baylor to take advantage of during the course of this big game. The Bears also had more defensive rebounds than the Bulldogs as Baylor ripped down 22 defensive rebounds while Gonzaga only maintained control of 17 defensive boards.

Turnovers

The number of turnovers the Gonzaga Bulldogs had definitely hurt their chances of winning the 2020-2021 men’s basketball NCAA national championship game. The turnovers they experienced not only slowed their momentum as well as they provided energy and confidence to the Baylor Bears. The Gonzaga Bulldogs had 14 total turnovers while the Baylor Bears had just 9 total turnovers. Also, some of the turnovers that Gonzaga displayed throughout the course of this game were self-inflicted as they bobbled balls out of bounds, dribbled balls off of their own legs or feet, and they missed on passes to teammates as they attempted to distribute the basketball.

Three-Point Shooting

Another facet of the game that the Baylor Bears dominated was shooting from beyond the three-point line. Baylor went 10 out of 23 from three-point range which equated to a three-point shooting percentage of 43.5 %. While Gonzaga went 5 out of 17 from three-point range which equated to a three-point shooting percentage of 29.4 %. The 5 made three-point shots by the Gonzaga Bulldogs was their lowest total of three-pointers made out of all six of their NCAA march madness tournament contests.

Game Statistics for the Baylor Bears

  • Forward Flo Thamba recorded 3 points, 6 rebounds, and 0 assists in 16 minutes played.
  • Guard Jared Butler recorded 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists in 31 minutes played.
  • Guard Davion Mitchell recorded 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 36 minutes played.
  • Guard Macio Teague recorded 19 points, 2 rebounds, and 0 assists in 31 minutes played.
  • Guard Mark Vital recorded 6 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists in 27 minutes played.
  • Forward Zach Loveday recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists in 1 minute played.
  • Forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua recorded 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in 16 minutes played.
  • Guard Jordan Turner recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists in 1 minute played.
  • Guard L. J. Cryer recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists in 1 minute played.
  • Guard Adam Flagler recorded 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists in 22 minutes played.
  • Guard Matthew Mayer recorded 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in 16 minutes played.
  • Guard Jackson Moffatt recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists in 1 minute played.
  • Guard Mark Paterson recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists in 1 minute played.

Game Statistics for the Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Forward Drew Timme posted 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists over 33 minutes played.
  • Forward Corey Kispert posted 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists over 38 minutes played.
  • Guard Jalen Suggs posted 22 points, 1 rebound, and 3 assists over 33 minutes played.
  • Guard Andrew Nembhard posted 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists over 39 minutes played.
  • Guard Joel Ayayi posted 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist over 31 minutes played.
  • Forward Ben Gregg posted 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists over 1 minute played.
  • Forward Anton Watson posted 4 points, 0 rebounds, and 1 assist over 13 minutes played.
  • Guard Dominick Harris posted 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists over 1 minute played.
  • Guard Julian Strawther posted 3 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists over 1 minute played.
  • Guard Aaron Cook posted 0 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists over 10 minutes played.

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball Rankings for 2021 – 2022 Season

  1. Gonzaga Bulldogs
  2. UCLA Bruins
  3. Perdue Boilermakers
  4. Ohio State Buckeyes
  5. Kansas Jayhawks
  6. Maryland Terrapins
  7. Villanova Wildcats
  8. Alabama Crimson Tide
  9. Florida State Seminoles
  10. Virginia Tech Hokies
  11. Baylor Bears
  12. Arkansas Razorbacks
  13. Duke Blue Devils
  14. Syracuse Orange
  15. St. Bonaventure Bonnies
  16. Arizona Wildcats
  17. Michigan Wolverines
  18. North Carolina Tar Heels
  19. Kentucky Wildcats
  20. Oregon Ducks
  21. Colorado State Rams
  22. Michigan State Spartans
  23. Belmont Bruins
  24. Houston Cougars
  25. West Virginia Mountaineers

Sources:

“Baylor beatdown: Bears win title, hang 86-70 loss on Gonzaga”, espn.com, April 5, 2021.

“Box Score”, espn.com, April 6, 2021.

“Gonzaga, UCLA 1-2 in Way-Too-Early Top 25 college basketball rankings for 2021-22”, Jeff Borzello, espn.com, April 5, 2021.


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