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No. 9 Baylor falls to No. 1 Gonzaga in round of 32, 71-83

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Mar 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-23 21:27:34-04

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — No. 9 Baylor has been eliminated from the NCAA tournament after falling to No. 1 Gonzaga 71-83 Saturday night in the round of 32.

Freshman guard Jared Butler led the Bears in the first half, starting off the scoring with an early three pointer and finishing the half with 10 points.

Mark Vital got knocked with two early fouls, but he continued to fight on both ends of the floor and earned 6 rebounds in the first half.

But, despite the Bears' best effort, Gonzaga proved to everyone in Salt Lake City why they are the number one seed.

The Bulldogs put on an absolute show with their transition offense and numerous dunks.

Gonzaga zigged and zagged through the Bears' defense whenever and however they wanted it seemed, and it was made evident in their nine first-half assists compared to Baylor's one.

Gonzaga's forward Brandon Clarke led their first half effort, shooting 8-10 for 18 points in the first half. Clarke finished the game with 36 points and 8 rebounds.

But, when the Bears finally got their hands up and in passing lanes, it resulted in a Gonzaga turnover.

Baylor only shot 29.6 percent in the first half, while Gonzaga shot a solid 55.6 percent from the field: outscoring Baylor in the paint 22-10 and off fast breaks 10-0 in the

But, Baylor came out on the locker room at half as a completely different team.

King McClure, Makai Mason and Vital hit big buckets for the Bears and some solid defense cut Gonzaga's lead to six.

But, then Vital was called for two fouls, essentially back-to-back, and was sent back to the bench with four. That killed any momentum Baylor had built up.

About the middle of the second half, Vital came back into the game, and he, Mason and McClure chipped away at Gonzaga's lead.

Corey Kispert was called for a technical foul after taunting Baylor's Butler. Mason shot for the Bears and made both free throws.

Vital and McClure converted big and-one situations, as well.

Senior McClure wasn't going to go down without a fight. Late in the game, he was blocking shots, making steals and throwing down dunks. McClure finished his final game as a Baylor Bear with 15 points.

Fellow senior Makai Mason was still fighting to make things happen, including and-one situations, with less than a minute to play.

Mason and Vital finished with 17 points each. Vital also had 8 rebounds.

But, despite all that, Gonzaga managed to maintain their lead in order to beat Baylor and advance to the Sweet 16.