Joel Ayayi put on a show, but his Gonzaga teammate Filip Petrusev and Serbia got the win.
Ayayi poured in 33 points, but it wasn’t enough as Serbia outlasted France 85-76 Tuesday to remain unbeaten at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece.
Ayayi, a 6-foot-5 wing who saw limited minutes for Gonzaga as a redshirt freshman last season, scored 20 points in the second half as France pushed the defending FIBA U18 European champions to the final buzzer.
Ayayi made 12 of 22 shots and nailed his only 3-point attempt, from 24 feet. He hit 8 of 11 free throws. He finished with four rebounds, four assists, four steals and just one turnover in 28-plus minutes.
Petrusev and frontcourt teammate Marko Pecarski were too much for France inside. Petrusev scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds to go with three steals and three assists. He’s averaging 21.3 points in Serbia’s 3-0 start.
Pecarski finished with 28 points and nine boards.
Oumar Ballo, who will be a freshman for the Zags this fall, was impressive with 20 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists in Mali’s 82-79 loss to Australia.
The 6-10 center, who arrived in Greece on Monday after missing the first two games of the tournament for undisclosed reasons, was 6 of 9 on field-goal attempts and 8 of 9 at the foul line. He played 23-plus minutes.
Incoming Zag freshman wing Martynas Arlauskas had nine points, three rebounds and four assists in nearly 25 minutes of playing time in Lithuania’s 77-75 loss to New Zealand. He was 4 of 14 from the field.
Julian Strawther, a class of 2020 Gonzaga commit, struck for 35 points but Puerto Rico lost to China 99-94, falling to 0-3. The 6-7 wing made 14 of 21 shots, 12 of 13 2-pointers, and 5 of 10 free throws. He had four rebounds, five turnovers and four steals in 24-plus minutes.
Jalen Suggs, a standout 2020 point guard being recruited by Gonzaga, had his best game of the tourney with 14 points and four assists as the U.S. thumped Senegal 87-58. He hit 4 of 10 field-goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers.
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