Gonzaga’s international success in recruiting has been on display at the FIBA World Cup in China, including one matchup Tuesday involving three former Zag teammates.
Domantas Sabonis helped Lithuania to a 92-69 victory over Canada and Kevin Pangos and Kyle Wiltjer. Sabonis finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists in nearly 23 minutes of playing time as Lithuania improved to 2-0 and clinched a spot in the second round.
Wiltjer, who has U.S. and Canadian citizenship, came off the bench to make 7 of 11 shots and score a game-high 24 points. He hit all three of his 3-point attempts and all seven of his free throws.
Pangos was just 1 of 6 from the field, but recorded eight assists for the second straight game. Canada dropped to 0-2 and can’t reach the second round.
Sabonis, Wiltjer and Pangos played key roles as Gonzaga reached the Elite Eight in 2015. Sabonis and Wiltjer combined to average 38 points for the Zags in 2016.
Rui Hachimura had another strong game but Japan lost to the Czech Republic 89-76. Hachimura scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and added four assists. The Washington Wizards’ first-round selection was constantly double-teamed and drew 10 fouls in the first three quarters.
“Yeah, they were all over me,” Hachimura said in an interview posted on the Wizards’ Twitter account. “They did everything to stop me. I know in the World Cup every team is going to come at you with everything they have. As a team we really need to pick up the intensity.”
Hachimura is averaging 18 points and 6.5 rebounds for Japan, which dropped to 0-2 prior to Thursday’s game against Team USA.
Former Zag Guy Landry Edi is averaging 10.5 points for Cote d’Ivoire, known as Ivory Coast until 1986. Cote d’Ivoire, which faces Poland on Wednesday, cannot reach the round of 16 after dropping its first two games.
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