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Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, USA rout Senegal, advance to World Cup semifinals

UPDATED: Fri., July 9, 2021

Chet Holmgren drives to the hoop Friday in the U.S. team’s victory over Senegal at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga, Latvia.  (FIBA/Courtesy)
Chet Holmgren drives to the hoop Friday in the U.S. team’s victory over Senegal at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga, Latvia. (FIBA/Courtesy)

Gonzaga incoming freshman Chet Holmgren’s strong fourth quarter helped the U.S. pull away from Senegal 88-58 Friday at the FIBA U19 World Cup quarterfinals in Riga, Latvia.

Holmgren was quiet on offense until a pair of highlight-reel plays in the fourth quarter. He used a pump fake to create space to drive for a reverse scoop layup and a 69-50 lead.

A few possessions later, Holmgren swished a pull-up 3-pointer in transition while being fouled. He hit the free throw for his 10th point, his fifth consecutive game in double figures in the tournament.

The 7-foot-1 forward finished with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, two blocks and no turnovers in a team-high 22-plus minutes. He made 3 of 5 shots, including 2 of 3 from distance.

Holmgren hit an early 3-pointer as the U.S. built a 32-14 lead after one quarter, but Senegal stayed close until midway through the final quarter.

Holmgren is averaging 20.5 minutes (first on the team), 12.2 points (second), 6.6 rebounds (first), 2.6 blocks (first) and 3.6 assists (tied for first) through five games. He’s first in field-goal percentage (65.7) and 3-point percentage (50).

The Americans, ranked No. 1 in the world, face No. 2 Canada in Saturday’s semifinals.

Canada (5-0) edged Spain 81-77 as point guard Ryan Nembhard, younger brother of Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard, scored eight points in the final 3:35.

Canada’s roster includes Caleb Houston, who was recruited by the Zags before committing to Michigan; Nembhard, who will be teammates with USA’s Ryan Kalkbrenner at Creighton; 6-11 center Charles Bediako, an Alabama commit who will line up against GU at the Battle in Seattle in December; and 7-4 center Zach Edey, teammate of USA’s Jaden Ivey and Caleb Furst at Purdue.

Nembhard is shooting 40% on 3-pointers and averaging 13.4 points and 6.2 assists in the tournament. Houston leads the team at 15.8 points. Edey averages 15.6 points and 14.2 rebounds. The 6-11 Bediako averages 4.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. Bennedict Mathurin checks in at 12.6 points.

Canada routed Senegal 85-56 in group play.

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