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Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Latest: Bears sprint to early lead on Gonzaga

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Latest on the national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga (all times EDT):

Baylor has raced to an 11-1 lead at the first media timeout of the national championship game, continuing the red-hot shooting that carried the Bears to a blowout victory over Houston in the semifinals.

Davion Mitchell already has seven points and Mark Vital has three offensive boards for the Bears.

Gonzaga has missed its first three shots, committed two turnovers and got its only point after Andrew Nembhard made the second of his two free throws. The Bears have turned both of those turnovers into points.

9:05 p.m.

There are no surprises in the starting lineups for Baylor and Gonzaga in the national championship game.

The Bears will go with their dynamic backcourt of All-American guard Jared Butler, defensive player of the year Davion Mitchell and sharp-shooter MaCio Teague. Mark Vital and Flo Thamba will patrol the paint for them.

The Bulldogs will counter with Jalen Suggs, whose buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime sent them past UCLA in the semifinals, alongside fellow guards Andrew Nembhard and Joel Ayayi. All-American forward Corey Kispert and Drew Timme, who also had a monster game against the Bruins, will round out the starters.

The game officials will be Bo Boroski, Keith Kimble and Randy McCall.

8:50 p.m.

Among the first through the door for Baylor’s first national title shot since 1948 were Homer Drew and Bryce Drew.

Homer, the longtime coach of Valparaiso, is the father of Bears coach Scott Drew, who got his start as his dad’s assistant with the Crusaders. Bryce is the younger brother that hit one of the most memorable shots in NCAA Tournament history, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave No. 13 seed Valpo a win over Ole Miss in the 1998 tourney.

Bryce, whose Grand Canyon team lost in the opening round of this year’s tournament, was repping Baylor with a black shirt bearing the Bears’ logo. Homer went with a Valpo-yellow collared shirt and black jacket.

The Bears and overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga were set to tip off at 9:20 p.m.


8:20 p.m.

Fans are beginning to trickle into Lucas Oil Stadium for the national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga, the overall No. 1 seed of an NCAA Tournament that has been played entirely in Indianapolis and the surrounding area.

The teams were supposed to meet four months ago to the day in Indianapolis. But their highly anticipated showdown between teams ranked No. 1 and 2 in the country was canceled about two hours before tip, when an outbreak of COVID-19 within the Bulldogs program forced them to halt all team activities.

Fortunately, there have been no COVID-19 issues since an early positive test caused VCU to withdraw before the tournament began. And that leaves basketball fans with a matchup of two teams that spent the entire season ranked in the top three in the AP Top 25. The Bulldogs went wire-to-wire at No. 1 and Baylor was right behind all but a couple weeks.


More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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