Impulsively, Gonzaga had life.
The Bulldogs’ nationwide title sport expertise had largely been a catastrophe for the primary 25 minutes as they staggered and stumbled below a relentless, oppressive Baylor assault, on each ends of the ground. However the Zags persevered, and after two free throws by Anton Watson and a layup by Andrew Nembhard, all of the sudden the Bulldogs trailed solely by single digits.
That felt like a serious victory itself. Bear in mind, they fell behind 9-0 within the opening minutes and spent a lot of the first half with phrases like “largest deficit of the season” being tossed round by the CBS asserting crew. Whilst a lot as the sport was a battle, a nine-point deficit felt like a surmountable impediment for a Gonzaga offense that was the perfect within the nation.
GONZAGA-BAYLOR: Live updates, highlights from title game
And with 14:30 left within the sport after Nembhard’s bucket, there was loads of time to mount what would have been an epic comeback. The storylines had been writing themselves. Epic shot to win a Last 4 sport adopted by an unbelievable comeback within the title sport. It was all coming collectively.
Till it wasn’t. In a blink, Baylor repeated its game-opening blitz. In a blink, the lead was rebuilt. In a blink, Gonzaga’s good season and nationwide title hopes had been dashed.
On the very subsequent possession after Nembhard’s layup, Jared Butler discovered Mark Important below the basket for a straightforward bucket. Again to double digits, 60-49.
Then the Baylor protection pressured one other turnover — this one by Drew Timme — that led to a quick break and two free throws by Butler. A Gonzaga bucket by Timme gave the Zags a breath, however then MaCio Teague hit an acrobatic shot within the paint round Timme for Baylor and Important blocked a shot by Corey Kispert.
Adam Flagler drained a 3-pointer earlier than Gonzaga might get its protection set — not that it had mattered a lot within the title sport — and hastily the Baylor lead was again to 16 factors, 67-51. It was a 9-2 run that coated 1 minute and 36 seconds.
That was it. There have been nonetheless almost 13 minutes remaining and Gonzaga saved preventing, however it by no means once more minimize the lead below 13 factors.
The Zags had made their push. The Bears had made their stand, they usually had been those left standing and celebrating.