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High-scoring Loyola Marymount guard James Batemon will test Gonzaga’s defense

UPDATED: Fri., March 2, 2018, 11:40 p.m.

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) and guard Josh Perkins (13) defend as Loyola Marymount guard James Batemon (5) drives during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Gonzaga won 85-66. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) and guard Josh Perkins (13) defend as Loyola Marymount guard James Batemon (5) drives during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Gonzaga won 85-66. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

James Batemon took over in the second half of the Loyola Marymount Lions’ 78-72 victory over Portland on Friday, scoring 29 points, 19 in the final 20 minutes.

The junior point guard sat out Gonzaga’s 76-46 win in Spokane two weeks ago with turf toe. The Lions struggled mightily, shooting just 33 percent and committing 18 turnovers.

Batemon showed his offensive versatility against the Pilots, drilling two 3-pointers, repeatedly getting to the rim on drives and nailing 11 of 12 free throws. He’s averaging 17.5 points and 4.7 assists.

Silas Melson is Gonzaga’s likely option defending Batemon, who had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting and handed out eight assists in GU’s 85-66 win in early January.

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