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Sports >  NCAA basketball

Former Gonzaga standouts Jalen Suggs, Killian Tillie strong in summer league openers

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 9, 2021

Jalen Suggs had a memorable debut Monday in the NBA Summer League, reminiscent of his first game in a Gonzaga uniform last season.

Suggs scored 24 points, including six of his team’s eight points in overtime, as Orlando edged Golden State 91-89 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The rookie guard nearly ended it in regulation, swatting 6-foot-6 rookie Moses Moody’s shot to stop Golden State’s 2-on-1 break and narrowly missing a driving shot at the other end in the closing seconds.

The 6-foot-4 Suggs opened the scoring in the 2-minute overtime period when Gary Payton II was whistled for goaltending on Suggs’ layup attempt. Orlando converted a Golden State turnover into a Suggs layup for an 87-83 lead.

Suggs hit a pair of free throws with 15.4 seconds left and backcourt teammate Cole Anthony added two more as the Magic held off the Warriors.

“Winning plays, that’s really all it came down to,” Suggs told NBA TV’s Dennis Scott. “In the first half and early in the second we let guys get easy buckets and get where they wanted to get to. We told everybody in the huddle, ‘Let’s dictate what they’re doing, let’s dictate the pace and that’ll take care of the offense,’ and that’s exactly what we did.”

Suggs showed off his versatility, leading both teams in scoring, rebounding (nine) and blocks (three). He added two steals, one that led to his layup as Orlando closed to within 40-39 just before halftime.

Suggs made 3 of 6 3-pointers, 6 of 16 inside the arc and 3 of 4 free throws in 28 minutes.

Suggs, selected No. 5 overall in the draft, scored 24 points in his first game as a Zag, including a dunk, steal and layup in the opening minute in a 102-90 win over Kansas last November.

Former Zag Killian Tillie’s affinity for Las Vegas was on display again as he drilled six 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 91-84 win over Brooklyn.

Tillie was the 2018 West Coast Conference Tournament MVP after hitting 13 of 14 3-pointers and averaging 24 points in three wins at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. He made three 3s in GU’s 2019 WCC tournament opener in his first game back from plantar fasciitis. In 2020, Tillie shot 50% from the field while averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Tillie scored 14 points as Memphis built a 43-33 halftime advantage. The Grizzlies fell behind in the second half, but Tillie drained two 3-pointers as Memphis reclaimed the lead.

It’s been a big week for Tillie and his family. Dad, Laurent, coached France and Tillie’s older brother Kevin to the gold medal in men’s volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s a one-in-a-lifetime thing,” Tillie said during a halftime interview on ESPN. “I’m just super proud of them and excited to go back to France and see them and see the gold medal.”

Former Zag Filip Petrusev, drafted 50th overall by Philadelphia, got the start in his first summer league game and delivered five points, five rebounds and three blocks in just over 19 minutes.

Petrusev was 1 of 4 from the field, including 0 of 2 from distance, but made 3 of 4 free throws in the 76ers’ 95-73 win over Dallas. Former Washington State forward Robert Franks had six points, five boards and four assists in 22 minutes for the Mavericks.

Johnathan Williams made a brief appearance in Sacramento’s 80-70 win over Charlotte. He finished with one rebound in roughly three minutes.

Zach Norvell Jr. (San Antonio) didn’t play in the Spurs’ 91-89 loss to Minnesota. That’s not uncommon in summer league with expanded rosters. San Antonio is juggling playing time with an 18-man roster.

Corey Kispert’s summer league debut was pushed back after Washington postponed its opener Sunday due to COVID-19 protocols. The Wizards are scheduled to face Sacramento on Tuesday.

Joel Ayayi, who signed a two-way contract with Los Angeles, went scoreless in 22 minutes in the Lakers’ win over Phoenix on Sunday, but he had five rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Malachi Flynn, who played two seasons at Washington State before transferring to San Diego State, scored 23 points and had six rebounds in Toronto’s 89-79 win over New York on Sunday. Former Cougar CJ Elleby had eight points, three boards and three assists Sunday in Portland’s 93-86 victory over Charlotte .

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