For Baylor, the wait was more than worth it.
Four months after seeing COVID-19 cancel their game with Gonzaga and a year after watching March Madness fall victim to the pandemic, the Bears finally got to make a statement about just who was the best basketball team in the country.
At the end of Championship Monday, the Lucas Oil Stadium scoreboard read: Baylor 86, Gonzaga 70.
The only opponent Gonzaga could not beat was its last. The previously-undefeated Bulldogs took their first loss of the season, falling 86-70 to No. 1 seed Baylor on Monday in the NCAA Tournament championship game.
WACO — Baylor wins the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball national title.
— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) April 6, 2021
Baylor ascended to the top of the sport with style, too, jumping out early to a 9-0 lead. Which turned to 11-1. Which turned into 29-10 less than 10 minutes into the game. It marked the largest deficit Gonzaga faced all season.
Despite this, Gonzaga had its share of runs, cutting the lead to 10 by halftime and to nine points in the second half. But Baylor had a bigger share of runs, led by 10 made 3-pointers and buttressed by a big game on the offensive boards that gave it 18 more shot attempts.
Its lead after dipping to single digits ballooned to as many as 20 in the second half, as Baylor sucked the life out of the only team that never looked lifeless all season.