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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi the fifth Zag this season to earn WCC player of the week honors

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 4, 2021

Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo, left, and guard Joel Ayayi, seen at Kraziness in the Kennel on Nov. 12, both came up big this past week for the unbeaten, top-ranked Bulldogs.  (By Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Oumar Ballo, left, and guard Joel Ayayi, seen at Kraziness in the Kennel on Nov. 12, both came up big this past week for the unbeaten, top-ranked Bulldogs. (By Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi on Monday was named West Coast Conference player of the week, the fifth different Zag honored in six weeks.

GU center Oumar Ballo was selected WCC freshman player of the week. Teammate Jalen Suggs has won the award three times.

Ayayi snapped out of a shooting slump and posted three double-doubles in home wins over Northern Arizona, Dixie State and San Francisco. He made 21 of 26 shots (80.8%), including 8 of 11 on 3-pointers, and finished the three-game week with 56 points, 31 rebounds, nine assists and four steals.

The 6-foot-5 Ayayi elevated his 3-point accuracy from 16.7% to 37.9% and his scoring average by nearly three points in three games. He’s averaging 12.2 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds.

Ayayi joins Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard, Suggs, Corey Kispert and Portland’s Ahmed Ali on the WCC player of the week list.

Since 1982, Gonzaga has had four different players earn WCC weekly honors in a season four times: 2015 (Kyle Wiltjer, Kevin Pangos, Domantas Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski), 2009 (Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, Austin Daye and Josh Heytvelt), 2007 (Micah Downs, Derek Raivio, Bouldin and Heytvelt) and 1999 (Casey Calvary, Richie Frahm, Jeremy Eaton and Quentin Hall).

Ballo was 6 of 6 from the field and scored a career-high 17 points against Dixie State.

He made all eight of his field-goal attempts in three games, including his five-point effort against Northern Arizona.

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