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.
In a stunningly lopsided season finale the Zags never once led in, Gonzaga’s season ends with a 31-1 record and with Baylor — 73 years removed from its last national championship game appearance — celebrating its first-ever men’s basketball title.
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.