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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga-Baylor key matchup: Makai Mason latest quality guard to test the Zags

Baylor’s Makai Mason was seen limping at times during Thursday night’s win over Syracuse, but the 6-foot-1 guard remains the Bears’ heart. He hit four 3-pointers and scored 22 points in the opening round.

Mason has been dogged by injuries most of the season – the latest being a toe injury – but he’s still the team’s leading scorer (14.9 points) and he’s second with 89 assists. He’s an 81 percent free-throw shooter and has been reliable from the stripe in crunch time.

Mason is averaging 16.5 points and 4.3 assists in his past four games. He poured in a program Big 12 record with 40 points against Texas Christian. His nine 3-pointers shared second place on the school’s single-game list.

The Zags have run into numerous quality guards this season, and are coming off one of their best defensive efforts against Fairleigh Dickinson’s tandem of Darnell Edge and Jahlil Jenkins. Josh Perkins will probably the draw the defensive assignment on Mason, with Geno Crandall a likely option off the bench.

“He’s got experience, he’s a shooter and a competitor,” Perkins said. “He has the freedom he wants, but we asked a similar question last time with Edge. Similar game plan for (Mason). We’ll know know where No. 10 is at all times.”