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Gonzaga-North Alabama key matchup: Lions rely on Jamari Blackmon, guard play

UPDATED: Thu., Dec. 27, 2018, 9:15 p.m.

This is how it’s going to be with most of Gonzaga’s remaining games, particularly against West Coast Conference opponents.

North Alabama is guard-driven, led by Jamari Blackmon. The 6-foot, 195-pound freshman leads the Lions in nearly every offensive statistic, including made field goals (58), 3-pointers (31), free throws (63) and assists (38). He averages a team-high 34.1 minutes and twice has played 40.

Blackmon has 40 more field-goal attempts, 22 more 3-point attempts and 54 more free throws than his next closest teammate. He’s had a pair of 22-point games, but he’s struggled with accuracy (31.7 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3). He’s made 83 percent at the line.

The Zags have some decisions to make defending UNA, which often puts four guards on the floor. Josh Perkins could end up on Blackmon or 5-10 senior Kendarius Smith, the Lions’ second-leading scorer. Gonzaga’s 6-3 Perkins, 6-5 Norvell and 6-6 Corey Kispert probably will end up defending swift, shorter guards.

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