Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Baylor Bears will decide the 2021 NCAA champions. These two programs cruised into the NCAA tournament finals last night, after completely opposite games.
Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs hit a buzzer-beating three in the overtime, bringing the 31st win of the campaign for Mark Few’s boys, 93-90. The result was tied with 3.3 seconds to go, when Suggs took the ball under his basket, ran over to enter the rival’s half, and fired a three, arguably the biggest one in the school’s history.
“Stuff like this is something you dream of as a kid and that you practice on your mini-hoop,” Suggs said.
It was a climax of one very dramatic and hard match, that saw UCLA getting out the best of the No.1 seed, reaching near one more upset following a few they already made during this March. Just to remind you that UCL arrived here from the First Four, constantly making surprises and eliminating higher-seeded teams.
Johnny Juzang was once again in the middle of attention, with the talented guard scoring 29 points and presenting an enigma for the Zags’ defense. Juzang was 12-for-18 from the field, posting 6 boards and two steals, playing 45 minutes.
Jamie Jaquez Jr delivered 19 points, with five boards and four assists, Tyger Campbell scored 17 with 7 assists. Cody Ridley had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds with five assists.
On the other side, Drew Timme was close to perfection among the Zags, hitting 11 of his 15 shots from the field, and scoring 25 points with four boards. Joel Ayayi was 9-for-12 for 22 points and six rebounds. Suggs eventually ended the night with 16 points, six assists, and five rebounds, while Corey Kispert scored 15 and had five boards and assists each.
The game between the Baylor Bears and the Houston Cougars was completely different, with the Bears controlling the game right from the start, and eventually recording an easy 78-59 victory.
There wasn’t a single moment in this event in which the Bears weren’t confident and in command. They would quickly take the lead early on and increase it as time went by. Baylor was up at the halftime, 45-20, and it was obvious already then that the Bears are going to win their first semifinals in 71 years.
“Every day you’re grinding, and you don’t really look back. You’re pressing forward,” Baylor’s head coach Scott Drew said, “but I’m so blessed to have these unbelievable players that bought into what we like to do with the program.”
Jared Butler scored 17 points with four threes, while Davion Mitchell had 12 with 11 assists. Matthew Mayer also had 12 points, while Jonathan Tchamwa-Tcatchoua and Macio Teague had 11 each.
The Cougars had just Marcus Sasser who was unstoppable in the firt half, scoring 17 of the team’s 20 points. However, he alone couldn’t do anything. There was no support for the sharpshooting guard, with the rest of the teammates making just one field goal in 15 tries. Something like that is unacceptable this deep into the tournament, and apart from losing easily, there was nothing else for the Cougars in this clash.
“We came out of the locker room and competed,” Houston’s head coach Kelvin Sampson said, “but Baylor is the best team we’ve played. They may be the best team we’ve played in the seven years I’ve been here.”
The NCAA finals are set for Monday at 9:20 pm. The venue is the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.