The magic ran out Monday night for the Gonzaga men’s basketball team. The Bulldogs lost to the Baylor Bears, 86-70, in the NCAA championship game in Indianapolis.
It was Gonzaga’s first loss after 31 wins.
Baylor was the aggressor early, running out to an early nine-nothing lead and going up by as many as 19 points in the first half. Gonzaga pecked away and cut the lead to 10 at halftime.
The Bulldogs headed into the locker room with some momentum and after the year they’d had, you had to think they would figure it out. But Baylor’s hot shooting and stifling defense continued. Gonzaga made another run to pull within nine at 58-49. But Baylor scored the next four and the threat was over. Eventually the lead grew to 20 and the result was no longer in doubt.
After the game, Coach Mark Few praised Baylor and his team for navigating an unusual season.
“I just marvel at everything they had to deal with this year. Our isolation every time we were on the road. All the Covid protocols and the changes and not being able to practice and practice and sitting out for 14 days, yet they always had just an amazing attitude and positivity about them that’s just, you can’t thank them enough," Few said.
The Zags could lose a significant number of players after this season. Senior Corey Kispert will graduate and move on to the National Basketball Association. He could be followed by underclassmen Jalen Suggs and Drew Timme and perhaps one or two others.