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Baylor defeats Gonzaga in 2021 men's NCAA championship game: Final score, real-time updates

Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY
·8 min read
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With the 2021 men's NCAA basketball championship on the line, two No. 1 seeds went to battle at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Gonzaga Bulldogs were in pursuit of immortality, an undefeated season capped by a national championship.

The Baylor Bears had something to say about that.

Baylor won its first national championship in school history with a dominant 86-70 victory Monday night.

It was the first time since 2005, when North Carolina held off Illinois, that the top two seeds in the field of 68 will meet in the championship.

Here are the updates as they happened throughout the game.

Watch One Shining Moment

After two full years, "One Shining Moment" makes its triumphant return. Here it is:

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Baylor Bears win national championship

FINAL: Baylor 86, Gonzaga 70

Baylor head coach Scott Drew gets a hug from guard Mark Vital at the end of the championship game against Gonzaga.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew gets a hug from guard Mark Vital at the end of the championship game against Gonzaga.

A dominant effort from the Bears from start to finish, who led 9-0 and 29-10 early in the game and stretched their lead to 20 in the second half.

Baylor is the first men's wire-to-wire champion since the 2014 Connecticut Huskies. And after defeating Houston by 19 in the Final Four, Baylor is the fifth school to ever win both men's Final Four games by more than 15 points, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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Under bettors breathe sigh of relief

With the total settling in around 159.5 depending on where you got the number, those with the under exhaled mightily as the final buzzer with a total of 156.

Given the final score, both benches had been emptied, and Baylor dribbled out the clock rather than have the reserves go for glory during their moment in the sun.

It would have been a tough beat — even with the high total, the under had seemed safe for most of the 40 minutes.

Baylor cruising toward title

The Bears went without a field goal for more than four minutes, but the Bulldogs couldn't cut it any closer than 13. Jared Butler leads the team with 20 points, but MaCio Teague is up to 18 himself, and Davion Mitchell has 13.

At the under-4 timeout, Baylor leads 82-65.

Timme picks up fourth foul

Drew Timme headed to the Gonzaga bench with four fouls, right as Baylor's big men also battled foul trouble and were sitting themselves.

The CBS broadcast showed a Gonzaga trainer rolling out Timme's left hamstring, and Tracy Wolfson reported he'd complained about his hip.

Suggs showing out

Jalen Suggs (7-for-12 from the field) is up to 12 points in the second half and has hit two big threes to keep the Bulldogs on life support.

Baylor's Flo Thamba has fouled out with less than nine minutes remaining.

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Baylor has opened up its largest lead of the game at 73-53 with almost 10 minutes remaining

Baylor opens up another big lead

Gonzaga cut the lead to single-digits for the first time since early in the first half, but the momentum didn't last long. Baylor turned its transition game up once again and took a 16-point lead with less than 13 minutes remaining.

Baylor bigs in foul trouble

With Flo Thamba and Jonathan Tchama Tchatchoua both with four fouls, Gonzaga is going to have a chance to exploit the Bears down low. Expect Drew Timme (four turnovers) to receive touches on every possession. On the other side of the court, they'll need defensive stops to complete any comeback.

Key halftime stats

3-point shooting: Baylor 7-for-12, Gonzaga 1-for-6

Free throws: Gonzaga 12-for-13, Baylor 2-for-2

Field goals: Baylor 19-for-38, Gonzaga 2-for-22

Assists: Baylor 12, Gonzaga 9

Offensive rebounds: Baylor 9, Gonzaga 3

Baylor 47, Gonzaga 37 at halftime

This is why Gonzaga is the No. 1 overall seed. It felt like Baylor ran the Bulldogs out of the gym, but they used a 9-2 run over the final minutes of the first half to cut the deficit to 10 points by halftime.

Gonzaga was outscoring Baylor in the paint 34-24.

Baylor foul trouble

For all of the talk about Jalen Suggs picking up two quick fouls, Baylor isn't in an exactly clean position, either. Jonathan Tchama Tchatchoua (3), Flo Thamba (2), Jared Butler (2) and Mark Vital (2) all were whistled multiple times in the first 20 minutes.

Gonzaga goes zone

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has his guys playing in a 1-3-1 zone now to throw the Bears off their game. Baylor has answered by finding players in the high post and knocking down mid-range jumpers. We'll see if Few has another answer.

Gonzaga hanging around at under-4

Even though Baylor basically has twice as many shot attempts, Gonzaga has stuck around and cut the lead for 12 after the deficit hit 19 at one point. Drew Timme leads the Bulldogs with eight points, and all starters now have a field goal.

Zags needs Suggs to stay in game

Jalen Suggs -- the star of the Zags' win over UCLA with an epic buzzer-beater -- picked up two early fouls when things already weren't going Gonzaga's way.

Coach Mark Few had to put his star point guard back in the game, urging him to play smart, because without him this game will be over -- really over. It's already looking that way with Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler shooting lights out and the Bears' smothering defense making them look like the clear-cut favorite over an undefeated squad.

Suggs is up to three turnovers, so he'll have to be more careful if Few is going to keep him out there.

-- Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports college basketball reporter

Bulldogs looking tired?

One has to wonder how fatigued the Bulldogs are after their overtime, buzzer-beater victory over UCLA hardly 48 hours ago. All five of Gonzaga’s starters played for more than 37 minutes, with three players (Kispert, Nembhard and Ayayi) on the court for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Baylor – which breezed past Houston in its semifinal matchup – looks fresh, especially Jared Butler, who has 10 points and has made all four of his shots.

The Bears started a perfect 5-for-5 (Butler with two) from 3-point range.

Baylor keeping Gonzaga down at under-12

There is plenty of game left, but a 15-point lead (23-8) eight minutes into the contest is a situation Baylor certainly would have signed up for before tipoff.

Gonzaga has five turnovers thus far. Baylor already has 17 shot attempts, compared with Gonzaga's seven.

Gonzaga struggling early

The bad news? It took Gonzaga four minutes and 35 seconds to make its first field goal, a 3-pointer by All-American Corey Kispert.

The even worse news for them? That is still the Bulldogs’ lone field goal, and they trail 16-4.

That’s because guards Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell are off to fast starts (seven points apiece), which is a bad sign for Gonzaga with Jalen Suggs on the bench with two early fouls.

Baylor bursts out to lead

What a start for the Bears. With intensity on the defensive end (two Gonzaga turnovers) and aggressiveness on offense (four offensive rebounds), the Bears scored the first nine points of the game. At 9-0, the Bulldogs faced their largest deficit of the tournament early.

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Jalen Suggs has picked up his second foul three minutes and four seconds into the game.

Indianapolis frontline workers sing national anthem

A well-done anthem by frontline workers (police officers, firefighters, etc.) from the area. Jim Nantz is on the public-address system announcing the starting lineups. It's almost gametime.

Baylor trying to make Texas-sized history

The last men's basketball team from Texas to win the NCAA championship was the historic 1966 Texas Western (now University of Texas-El Paso) squad, famous for being the first all-Black starting five to win it all.

Starting lineups

Gonzaga: G Jalen Suggs, G Andrew Nembhard, G Joel Ayayi, F Corey Kispert, F Drew Timme

Butler: G Jared Butler, G Davion Mitchell, G MaCio Teague, F Mark Vital, F Flo Thamba

The referees: Bo Boroski, Keith Kimble, Randy McCall. It is McCall's second title game, and the first for Boroski and Kimble.

Half of Lucas Oil Stadium in use

With social distancing rules in effect in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium, it would have been a vacuous scene had the entire stadium been illuminated, as was the case in previous Final Fours at the venue.

Instead, the NCAA has sectioned off nearly half of the stadium to create a more cozy environment. Here's a bird's-eye view.

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No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Baylor

Time: 9:20 p.m. Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.

TV: CBS.

Announcers: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson.

How to stream: March Madness Live, fuboTV, Paramount+.

Odds: Gonzaga -4.5; over/under: 159.5

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gonzaga-Baylor March Madness: Men's NCAA championship live updates