For incoming Gonzaga freshman center Oumar Ballo and his Mali teammates, the historic run at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece continues.
Ballo had 21 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots in Friday’s 84-74 victory over Puerto Rico 84-74, lifting Mali into the semifinals.
Mali had never advanced to the event’s round of eight, and now it will play in Saturday’s final four.
After missing the first two games, Ballo has averaged 18.7 points and 13.7 rebounds in three wins. Fellow GU recruit Julian Strawther, a class of 2020 wing, had 12 points and three rebounds for Puerto Rico.
Ballo and Mali will square off against GU sophomore guard Joel Ayayi and France in the semifinals. Ayayi carried France past Canada 85-80 with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
In another quarterfinal matchup featuring Gonzaga players/recruits on Friday, incoming freshman Martynas Arlauskas had eights points and two steals in Lithuania’s 92-85 victory over GU sophomore forward Filip Petrusev and Serbia.
Petrusev finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, but had 10 turnovers. Entering the game, Petrusev, who finished 5 -of-10 shooting, had connected on nearly 80% of his field-goal attempts.
Lithunia will face the United States in the other semifinal. Jalen Suggs, a standout 2020 guard who is being recruited by Gonzaga, had eight points for the U.S. in a 95-80 win over Russia.
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