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Gonzaga’s Filip Petrusev, Joel Ayayi off to strong start at FIBA U19 World Cup

UPDATED: Sat., June 29, 2019, 8:12 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Joel Ayayi hits a 3-pointer against Denver in a December game at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Joel Ayayi hits a 3-pointer against Denver in a December game at the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga sophomores Filip Petrusev and Joel Ayayi had strong first games Saturday at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.

Petrusev made 9 of 11 field-goal attempts and 5 of 6 free throws en route to a team-high 23 points in Serbia’s 106-57 rout of China. The 6-foot-11 forward had eight rebounds, two assists and one turnover in 20 minutes.

Ayayi’s 26 points and seven rebounds led France to a 91-68 victory over Puerto Rico. The 6-5 wing made 11 of 17 shots, including 2 of 4 3-pointers, and was 2 of 7 at the free-throw line. He finished with one assist, three steals and four turnovers in 25 minutes.

Forward Julian Strawther, a class of 2020 Gonzaga commit, scored nine points and grabbed two rebounds in 26 minutes for Puerto Rico.

Martynas Arlauskas, an incoming Gonzaga freshman, had four points, five rebounds and four steals in Lithuania’s 76-52 win over Senegal. The 6-6 wing started and played 13-plus minutes.

Mali defeated Latvia 93-79 for its first World Cup win since 2007. Gonzaga incoming freshman center Oumar Ballo did not play, listed as a coach’s decision in the box score, for Mali.

Jalen Suggs, a standout 2020 guard being recruited by Gonzaga, started and played nearly 13 minutes in the United States’ 111-71 win over New Zealand. Suggs finished with four points and four rebounds.

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