Baylor Overwhelms Gonzaga, Wins First National Title
INDIANAPOLIS -- Nearly an hour after Baylor captured its first men's basketball national title through an 86-70 pummeling of Gonzaga on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bears coach Scott Drew sat on a dais with the championship net around his neck and a smile on his face.
"First and foremost, I want to thank God for blessing us with this opportunity tonight," Drew said after the game. "I know the guys have worked really hard. And I'm so happy they get a chance to celebrate now. At the same time, I feel for Coach [Mark] Few and his team because they're such class acts. And Coach Few is a Hall of Fame coach and an unbelievable guy. A better person than he is a coach. And you hate when friends aren't feeling good."
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. That was because of one team and maybe, just maybe, because of a three-week break that put a halt to a 17-0 start and sapped some of Baylor’s burgeoning momentum.
Baylor outscored all six of its opponents in the tournament by an average of 15 points. It beat Houston by 19 in the semifinal. Less than 5 minutes into the final, the Bears were ahead of Gonzaga by double digits.
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.
ESPN also contributed to this article.