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Breaking down the 1-minute, 36-second stretch that ended Gonzaga’s title hopes

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Breaking down the 1-minute, 36-second stretch that ended Gonzaga's title hopes

All of a sudden, Gonzaga had life. 

The Bulldogs’ national title game experience had mostly been a disaster for the first 25 minutes as they staggered and stumbled under a relentless, oppressive Baylor attack, on both ends of the floor. But the Zags persevered, and after two free throws by Anton Watson and a layup by Andrew Nembhard, suddenly the Bulldogs trailed only by single digits. 

That felt like a major victory itself. Remember, they fell behind 9-0 in the opening minutes and spent most of the first half with phrases like “largest deficit of the season” being tossed around by the CBS announcing crew. Even as much as the game was a struggle, a nine-point deficit felt like a surmountable obstacle for a Gonzaga offense that was the best in the country. 

GONZAGA-BAYLOR: Live updates, highlights from title game

And with 14:30 left in the game after Nembhard’s bucket, there was plenty of time to mount what would have been an epic comeback. The storylines were writing themselves. Epic shot to win a Final Four game followed by an unbelievable comeback in the title game. It was all coming together. 

Until it wasn’t. In a blink, Baylor repeated its game-opening blitz. In a blink, the lead was rebuilt. In a blink, Gonzaga’s perfect season and national title hopes were dashed. 

On the very next possession after Nembhard’s layup, Jared Butler found Mark Vital under the basket for an easy bucket. Back to double digits, 60-49. 

Then the Baylor defense forced another turnover — this one by Drew Timme — that led to a fast break and two free throws by Butler. A Gonzaga bucket by Timme gave the Zags a breath, but then MaCio Teague hit an acrobatic shot in the paint around Timme for Baylor and Vital blocked a shot by Corey Kispert. 

Adam Flagler drained a 3-pointer before Gonzaga could get its defense set — not that it had mattered much in the title game — and all of a sudden the Baylor lead was back to 16 points, 67-51. It was a 9-2 run that covered 1 minute and 36 seconds. 

That was it. There were still nearly 13 minutes remaining and Gonzaga kept fighting, but it never again cut the lead under 13 points. 

The Zags had made their push. The Bears had made their stand, and they were the ones left standing and celebrating. 

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Why are Jake Paul and Ben Askren fighting? A callout lured ex-MMA champion out of retirement

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Why are Jake Paul and Ben Askren fighting? A callout lured ex-MMA champion out of retirement

Jake Paul will look to improve his boxing record to 3-0 on April 17 when he steps into the ring with former MMA champion Ben Askren on Triller’s Fight Club.

Paul started his pro boxing career in January 2020 with a first-round knockout against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib. He followed that with a knockout of former NBA player Nate Robinson in November on the undercard of Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones. This will be the first time that Paul steps into the ring with a former fighter.

Askren is a two-time Division I wrestling national champion who became a champion at Bellator and ONE Championship before finishing his mixed martial arts career in the UFC. He amassed a record of 19-2 before retiring from the sport in November 2018.

How did a fight between a YouTuber and a former MMA champion happen?

RELATED: Jake Paul accused of sexual assault by TikTok star

Why are Jake Paul and Jake Paul fighting?

Before and after his second-round knockout over former NBA player Nate Robinson last November, Jake Paul called out several MMA fighters to step into a boxing ring with him. Among them were Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Dillon Danis, Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren. Although some suggested they’d take the fight on social media, only the recently retired Askren made it clear that he’d be more than willing to meet the YouTube celebrity for a fight. 

“Boxing, that seems kind of easy,” Askren told Submission Radio about the possibility of stepping into the ring following hip surgery. “Like, I’m sure I could do that. Like, there’s no shots, there’s no slams, there’s not leg locks. I dunno, that seems relatively safe to me.”

Askren wasn’t impressed with Paul’s knockout of Robinson and stated that he’s sure he’d fare much better than Robinson and AnEsonGib, a YouTuber that Paul stopped in the first round last January.

“It’s hard to say when you’re going against someone who’s that bad,” Askren said. “I watched the highlights, Nate Robinson, good god. I mean, honestly, it looked like he’d never been boxing before. For someone who’s such an elite athlete – I mean, this guy’s a very elite athlete, he was a great basketball player – he couldn’t box worth a damn.

“Obviously I’m someone who is a high-level fighter, who has a large following, who was maybe not known for his stand-up. I think that’s probably what he’s thinking.”

After a bit of back and forth on social media, it was announced that Paul would return to the ring in April for a fight on Triller against Askren in an eight-round cruiserweight bout. 

Since the fight was announced, the two have ramped up their rivalry on social media with Paul dragging Askren’s wife into the feud. The feud heated up at a March press conference where words were exchanged and it nearly became physical during the staredown. 

Both have made promises to knock out the other but only one will come out victorious on April 17. 

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ESPN’s Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

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ESPN's Holly Rowe speaks French and English in WNBA Draft interview; Twitter reacts

ESPN reporter Holly Rowe received many a “tres bien” from her confrères in media for conducting a bilingual interview with WNBA Draft pick Iliana Rupert, a France international, on Thursday night.

Rupert was chosen 12th overall by the Las Vegas Aces. With the draft being a virtual event for the second year in a row because of COVID-19, Rowe conducted the post-selection interview in an ESPN studio while Rupert was on camera remotely.

MORE: Why Paige Bueckers was ineligible for ’21 WNBA Draft

Rowe began the interview with “Bonsoir,” or “Good evening,” and asked Rupert in French whether she spoke English. Rupert responded in the affirmative and the interview proceeded in English.

“It’s always been one of my dreams and it’s amazing being recognized,” Rupert said. “I’m really happy to [represent] my country and I’m just excited to finally start this journey.”

After two more questions and responses in English, Rowe switched back to French for the interview’s conclusion, telling Rupert “Bienvenue,” or “Welcome,” to the WNBA. She also gave her regards to Rupert’s family.

Rowe’s media colleagues were quick with the compliments.

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‘It shows how exciting we can be!’ – Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

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'It shows how exciting we can be!' - Saka says Arsenal have real chance of winning Europa League after Slavia rout

Bukayo Saka says Arsenal have a real chance of winning the Europa League after their rout of Slavia Prague, and claims their latest performance “shows everyone how exciting we can be”.

Arsenal bounced back from a disappointing 1-1 draw against Slavia in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at Emirates Stadium by picking up a comprehensive 4-0 victory in the Czech Republic on Thursday night.

Saka was among the scorers as the Gunners booked a last-four clash with Villarreal, and he is confident they can now go all the way in the competition after flexing their attacking muscles at the Sinobo Stadium.

What’s been said?

“It was fantastic from start to finish. We did it for all the fans, they all deserve it for all the support they give us. We are really happy to progress,” the Arsenal winger told BT Sport.

“We showed real character. The first one was disallowed, Emile deserved a goal, we kept going and got the first one again. We pretty much killed the game in the first half.

“In the first leg we played well but weren’t clinical, credit to the manager and coaching staff, the way we set up, pressed, they couldn’t get out.

“It shows everyone how exciting we can be, when we play like this it is so amazing to be involved in. We have a chance of going to the final and winning this competition, it is up to us. We look forward to the next opponent.”

Arsenal put Slavia to the sword

The Gunners went at their Czech opponents right from the first whistle in the second leg clash, and found themselves in front after just 18 minutes when Nicolas Pepe dinked the ball into the net after being teed up by Emile Smith Rowe.

Alexandre Lacazette then doubled the visitors’ account from the penalty spot after Saka was fouled in the box, and the teenager got his goal moments later when he cut in from the right-wing before firing the ball low past the goalkeeper at his near post.

Lacazette added extra gloss to the final scoreline with a trademark finish 13 minutes from time as Arsenal progressed to the semi-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

What’s next?

Arsenal will now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a home fixture against Fulham scheduled to take place on Sunday.

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