From the tip, No. 6 Baylor’s defense suffocated No. 14 Gonzaga, and in the end, it won the Bears the game on the final possession, holding off the Zags, 64-63.
In the first-ever Peacock Classic in Sioux Falls, SD, Baylor warded off any revenge plans from when these two last met in the 2021 national title game, when the Bears took home their first national championship.
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Baylor's defensive intensity left Gonzaga's Drew Timme scoreless through the first half and forced 18 Bulldog turnovers. Baylor held Gonzaga's offense 20 points below its season average.
Unlike its showing in the 2021 title game, Gonzaga made a valiant effort to fight back with a seven-point lead late in the second half. Second-chance opportunities helped the Bulldogs stay competitive, outrebounding the Bears 49-39 with a +7 in the offense category. Keyonte George topped the boxscore with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. Off the bench, Malachi Smith led the Zags with 16 points.
In the end, Timme fouled out after scoring three-straight buckets, allowing the Bears to finish off the game on an 8-0 run.
With Friday night's victory, the Bears picked up an impressive ranked win after falling to Marquette in their last outing while the Bulldogs fall to 5-3 less than a month into the season.
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