Loyola Marymount’s James Batemon is next up for Gonzaga in a long line of talented guards in the West Coast Conference.
The last time Gonzaga saw Batemon, the 6-foot-1, 189-pound junior was pouring in 27 points – 20 in the first 16 minutes of the second half – as the Lions pushed the Zags before falling 83-69 in a WCC Tournament quarterfinal last March. Rui Hachimura did a nice defensive job on Batemon in the final minutes.
Batemon, the only player in the WCC in the top five in scoring and assists last year, is putting up similar numbers (17.9 points, 3.8 assists) this season as a senior. He led LMU in scoring in its first seven games and 10 of the first 12. He’s cooled off lately, averaging 11.8 points in the last five.
Batemon went the length of the floor for a winning layup against Boise State. He’s shooting just 42 percent from the field, 25.3 on 3-pointers, but his driving ability puts foul pressure on opponents. Batemon capitalizes by hitting 84.4 percent from the line. He’s ninth nationally with 108 made free throws.
Josh Perkins and Geno Crandall figure to be primary options defending Batemon.
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