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Baylor Team Praises God After First-Ever NCAA Championship Win: 'Jesus Christ... He's the Truth'

04-06-2021
Baylor players celebrate with the trophy after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Baylor won 86-70. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Baylor players celebrated and gave glory to God after the championship game against Gonzaga in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Baylor University Bears are celebrating today after winning their first-ever NCAA men's college basketball championship. 

The private Christian university easily beat previously undefeated Gonzaga Monday night 86 to 70. 

The Baylor team thanked God in prayer as they stood in a circle on the court after the game.  

The Bears' Jared Butler was named the Final Four most outstanding player. He gave thanks to the Lord after the game.

"I'm not trying to preach a prosperity gospel, but our Lord and Savior, I say it all the time: He gets us through everything," Butler said. "Jesus Christ, man, He's the truth. He was with us tonight, He was with us all season, He's with us wherever we go. He just sustained us. He brought us together. He brought this team together — transfers, people from overseas. It's just tremendous how it just comes and it comes all full circle."

Baylor's Head Coach Scott Drew also honored the hard work of his players saying, "Our team has been special. Last two years, winningest team in the Power Five. We've been really, really good, and they're even better people." 

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The men's basketball program was a mess when Drew took it over in 2003. The team suffered a tragic loss that year when junior Patrick Dennehy was murdered by fellow teammate Carlton Dotson. And shortly after the death of Dennehy, then-head coach Dave Bliss resigned over allegations that he had violated NCAA rules.

But Coach Drew has built the team back up using a culture called "JOY" which stands for "Jesus, Others, Yourself."

"We're so blessed to have unbelievable upperclassmen and leadership. But we play with a culture of joy," Coach Drew said after the big win. 

Drew guides the team by his own faith, having accepted Christ at a young age. He grew up in a Christian family and regularly attended church as a child. 

Working at a Christian college has allowed Drew to be more outspoken about his religious beliefs.

"The Spirit works differently with different people, but I feel comfortable talking about my faith in public and what Jesus Christ has done in my life," he said in a Fall 2020 Sports Spectrum Magazine feature.

Additionally, Baylor's faith-focused program values the importance of having a cheerful heart and sharing God's word together. 

"We've been a Christ-centered program since we've been here," Drew explained. "Everybody comes in, spiritually, at different levels, but the great thing is that everybody's open to growing. Each and every year, we want our players to grow academically and athletically, but also spiritually and in character."

Basketball practices begin and end with a prayer. Players can also attend a Bible study and chapel service.

Drew told Sports Spectrum, "We do a players' Bible study and a chapel service like the NBA. Those are great times for all of us to grow spiritually. And then we begin practice in prayer, and close practice in prayer, and just make sure that these guys get the full thing of everything that we do."

Drew added that the team's mission remains the same: to honor God and give Him all the glory in everything they do, regardless of their victories or defeats.

"I think the biggest thing is modeling after Jesus. He was a servant leader. And with us, hopefully, and prayerfully, its humility, it's serving our players and helping them achieve their goals and dreams, not only on the court but in life and in the classroom," Drew told CBN Sports a few years ago. 

"If I didn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, I'd be a mess and the highs would be too high and the lows would be too low. I mean we're all competitors. We want to win. But at the end of the day, I'm coaching for an audience of One," he said. 

WATCH: CBN Interviewed Coach Scott Drew a Few Years Ago About Rebuilding Baylor's Team 

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