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

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. 

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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. (Photo: Darron Cummings, AP)

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. 

Baylor is the 5th school all-time to win both their Final Four games by more than 15 points, joining 2018 Villanova, 1968 UCLA, 1960 Ohio State and 1952 Kansas.

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.

It ain’t over, but it feels over.

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. 

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