2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four: Gonzaga Wins A Thriller Vs UCLA, While Baylor Dominates Houston
The 2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four is over and the Championship is set! The Baylor Bears had their way early and often with the #2 Seeded Houston Cougars en route to a 78-59 win. Gonzaga was able to pull out the overtime victory over UCLA thanks to a Jalen Suggs buzzer-beating 3. The Bulldogs won 93-90 in one of the most dramatic games in recent March Madness memory.
This set's the stage for Monday night's National Championship game. The undefeated #1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs against the #1 seed Baylor Bears. Hopefully, the final game can live up to the amazing action we had Saturday night. Jalen Suggs had maybe two of the best series of the tournament and, Canadian Andrew Nembhard made some clutch plays late. Let's recap how all the excitement went down!
Gonzaga Wins A Thriller Over UCLA In Overtime
The number one ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs had yet to win a game by fewer than 24 points this tournament. They would see their biggest test against the #11 seeded, and play-in team, the UCLA Bruins. The teams came out in a very even first half that saw UCLA able to weather the storm. Not only were they able to weather it, but Mick Cronin's team was also able to bring their own storm. Joel Ayayi would score the first 7 points for the Bulldogs before Codey Riley would hit a jumper and tie things up at 7 with 16:14 to go in the first half.
Tyger Campbell would give the Bruins their first lead of the evening 12-11 on two free throws. After he would extend things to 14-11, Canadian Andrew Nembhard would respond with a layup. With 11:39 to go in the half, Johnny Juzang would hit a 3 to extend the lead to 4. The Bruins would lead by as many as 6 several times in the first half, but Gonzaga was able to keep it close thanks to Drew Timme down low and the play of Jalen Suggs. Suggs would cut the lead to 29-28 with a layup on the pass from Timme with 7:25 to go.
Jules Bernard would bring the lead back to 4 before the teams would go on a cold streak. Juzang would hit a jumper to extend the lead to 34-28 for UCLA before the undefeated Bulldogs would answer. Jalen Suggs would hit shots from the line before they would go down low to Drew Timme for the dunk. Gonzaga would go on a 17-10 run to end the half thanks to 3 pointers from Corey Kispert and Suggs. Kispert would hit a late jumper with 4 seconds left to give the Bulldogs their first lead since the 8:46 mark. The high-scoring first half of the 2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four would end 45-44.
The second half of the 2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four would see both teams fight as hard as they could. the game saw 19 lead changes with no team being up by more than 7. Gonzaga would pull out to that 7 point lead with 11:56 thanks to the Canadian Andrew Nembhard. Juzang and Williams fought back for the Bruins with 2 jumpers by Juzang and a big three from Tyger Williams. Just like that, it was a 1 point game once again 66-65.
Codey Riley would give UCLA a 3 point lead 73-70 with a jumper with 5:15 to go. Joel Ayayi would cut into the lane for the layup as the game would come right down to the wire. Juzang and Timme would put up baskets for each team and the score was 79-79. Corey Kispert hit a big bucket to give Gonzaga the lead but Jamie Jacquez Jr. was sent to the line and made both buckets. The game deserved over time and we would get it in the 2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four.
Drew Timme would score the first bucket for Gonzaga to make it 83-81. Cody Riley would hit a jumper to tie it back up before Timme would score the next 4 points. Gonzaga had the 87-83 lead a minute and 4 seconds into overtime. The last couple of minutes were amazing as Jalen Suggs would get a huge block at one end and find Kispert on the fast break for the layup. Then Andrew Nembhard would give the Bulldogs a 5 point lead with a wide-open 3 off the pick and pop.
With 50 seconds left Jaquez Jr. would hit a 3 to bring UCLA back to within 3 points with enough time left on the clock to get a stop. They would get that stop and Johnny Juzang was given the ball in his hands. He drove and would miss his first shot but got his own rebound. He would put it back in to tie the game at 90 with 3.3 seconds left in the game. Mark Few elected to not take a timeout and Jalen Suggs would make history. He took the inbound down the court and hit the Bank shot 3 for the win to send Gonzaga to the National Championship game.
It was one of those March Madness games you talk about for a long time. Both team's stars showed up for Gonzaga vs UCLA. Johnny Juzang was able to tie it late before Jalen Suggs banked in the winner. We had big plays on the defensive end and both Mark Few and Mick Cronin showed why they are elite coaches at this level.
Baylor Bears Dominate The Houston Cougars
An evenly matched game on paper saw the Baylor Bears dominate from start to finish against the Houston Cougars Saturday afternoon. #2 Houston looked to get the start they wanted after 2 missed 3 point attempts and 2 offensive rebounds. Marcus Sasser would open the scoring at 19:05 of the game to make it 3-0 for the Cougars. Jared Butler would tie things up at 3 as the teams were firing away from beyond the arc. The teams would trade buckets before Matthew Mayer would tie things up at 8 with a jump shot.
Baylor would go on a 14-3 run and pull out to a 22-11 lead. Jared Butler would hit one of his 4 first-half 3's as the Bears would continue to stretch the lead to end the first half. Marcus Sasser was doing everything he could for Houston but it wasn't enough to stop their high-powered offense. Baylor had a 45-20 lead at the end of the first half.
Quentin Grimes would hit some shots early in the 2nd half for Houston. Before Sasser was able to cut the lead to 50-30 at the 15:28 mark. It wouldn't get any closer for the Cougars as the Bears would keep things comfortable up 20 points for most of the game. it would end 78-59 thanks to 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Davion Mitchell had 12 points and 11 assists and MaCio Teague had 11 points.
Sasser had 20 points in the loss for Houston while Grimes added 13 points but no other player for the cougars had more than 6 points. Baylor held Houston to just 38.2% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. Baylor was really working the ball around nicely all game as they assisted on 23 of their 40 made shots. Scott Drew and Baylor will look to spoil Gonzaga's perfect season and take the National Title home for themselves.
Sports Talk Lines 2021 NCAA March Madness Final Four Coverage
It has been an exciting tournament after a year off. The 2021 NCAA March Madness Championship is set for Monday night. Baylor will try and stop Gonzaga's perfect season while the Bulldogs will look to make history. This should be a great game as all-season these were two of the top teams in the nation.
Make sure to check back to Sports Talk Line for the latest news about articles about the NCAA tournament. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JoshuaGriffith0 for the latest updates before, during, and after the big game. Check out the Sports Talk Line YouTube Channel for the latest video Highlights, shows, and more.
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