April 3, 2021
TRUENEWSBLOG- After everything — 66 games of predictable demolitions, bracket-crippling upsets, to-the-end thrillers and even a no-contest forced by the coronavirus — the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament is headed right where many people long figured it would: a Monday night national title matchup between Gonzaga and Baylor.
The No. 1 seeds advanced through the Final Four on Saturday, with Baylor easing past Houston, 78-59, and Gonzaga tardily summoning its scoring prowess to survive U.C.L.A., 93-90, in overtime with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jalen
JALEN SUGGS. UNBELIEVABLE!
But the Bruins, who required a play-in game to reach even the tournament’s first round, very nearly derailed Gonzaga’s quest to become the first undefeated team to win a national title in 45 years. At halftime, Gonzaga led by 1 point, and it was fortunate to hold even that much of an advantage.
Then the offensive machinery of Gonzaga stopped creaking and started scoring. Drew Timme, the team’s leading scorer this season, finished with 25 points after logging 8 in the opening half. Joel Ayayi, whose 16 first-half points salvaged Gonzaga’s first 20 minutes, had 22 on the night. Dozens of Gonzaga’s points came from the paint.
U.C.L.A.’s Jaime Jaquez Jr., though, made a free-throw with 43 seconds to play to tie the score in regulation. Then Gonzaga, behind Timme, struck first in the overtime period and started to to build a lead to carry it to Monday’s championship showdown.
But U.C.L.A. tied the game again with about 3 seconds to play. Then, as time expired, Suggs launched a long shot toward the basket. It went in.