Gonzaga-bound Petrusev helps Serbia win European Championships

The Bulldog logo on the floor of the remodeled Gonzaga men’s basketball locker room. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga-bound Filip Petrusev scored 29 points as Serbia outlasted host Latvia 99-90 Sunday to win the FIBA U18 European Championships.

France, led by Gonzaga redshirt freshman Joel Ayayi’s 22 points, took third place with a 79-70 win over Russia. Serbia defeated France 78-67 in Saturday’s semifinals.

The 6-foot-11 Petrusev made 10 of 18 field-goal attempts and 9 of 10 free throws. Petrusev added eight rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes as Serbia won the championship for the second straight year.

Petrusev, who played at prep power Montverde (Florida) Academy, and frontcourt teammate Marko Pecarski were too much inside for Latvia. Pecarski, who played with former Zag Nigel Williams-Goss last season on KK Partizan in Serbia, poured in 34 points and had 13 rebounds to earn MVP honors.

The forward tandem combined to average nearly 46 points in seven tournament games. Pecarski (24.7 points) was the tournament’s top scorer and Petrusev (21.0) ranked third. Petrusev (8.7) was third in rebounding.

Petrusev made nearly 61 percent of his shots from the field and 79.5 percent of his free throws.

Ayayi’s layup gave France a 70-69 lead with 3:25 remaining. The 6-5 guard had eight points in the fourth quarter as France outscored Russia 25-10.

Ayayi finished as the tournament’s 13th-leading scorer at 15.7 points per game. He made 50 percent of his shots and nearly 35 percent of his 3-pointers.

Petrusev, who is expected to arrive on campus later this month, and Ayayi were named to the All-Tournament team.