Cougar Hoops Notebook

WASHINGTON STATE'S men's basketball team continues to struggle, but former walk-on Will DiIorio continues to earn praise from players and coaches for his hard work. "I love how hard Will plays," backcourt partner Royce Woolridge said the other day. "Will is like the heart of the team."

DiIorio has been Mr. Hustle for a Cougar team that brings a 1-5 conference record and 10-9 overall mark into today's 2 p.m. tip off (Pac-12 Network TV) at Oregon State (1-5 and 11-8).

The Bainbridge product is averaging 16.5 minutes of playing time per game, shooting lights out (.525 overall and .625 from downtown) and averaging 2.1 rebounds per outing. He also has 12 assists and 10 steals.

But it's not the stats that make him special. It's his nose-to-the-grindstone mentality.

He takes charges, dives for loose balls, works hard on defense, and crashes the boards.

"He's a very unselfish kid," head coach Ken Bone said of DiIorio after his all-purpose efforts nearly rescued the Cougars from an early 17-point deficit against Washington.

A year ago, DiIorio was so deep down the Cougar bench that he only saw action in 19 games -- and averaged just 6.6 minutes of playing time in those contests.

THE COUGS AND BEAVS will be renewing a rivalry today that is in its 105th season, making it the ninth-longest continuous rivalry in the nation. The Cougars also hold the sixth- oldest continuous rivalry, with Idaho at 108 seasons.

The Cougars have won 11 of the last 14 meetings, including three of four last season when the teams met twice in the regular season and once each in the Pac-12 and CBI tournaments.


  • Five of the Cougars' 9 losses this season have been by 7 points or less, including a 2-point loss to then-No. 10 Gonzaga in December and a 68-61 setback at No. 16 Oregon this past Wednesday.

  • Brock Motum ranks third in the Pac-12 and 25th in the country in scoring (18.8 ppg). Wednesday at Oregon he moved by Derrick Low and Carlos Daniel on the all-time WSU scoring list, and now takes aim at Chris Crosby (1,333 points from 1997-00), who is next on the career list.

  • Cougar point guard Mike Ladd has hit double figures in each of the last seven games and is second on the team with 11.2 points per game. He's also second on the team in rebounding at 6 per game.

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