Will DiIorio has never played better, but the junior guard from Bainbridge Island won’t be playing for a while for the Washington State men’s basketball team.
DiIorio, a former walk-on who has been playing valuable minutes for the Cougars, is expected to miss two to three weeks with a sprained left ankle.
DiIorio was injured while battling for a ball in Wednesday’s 71-69 loss to 10th-ranked Gonzaga. After the game, WSU coach Ken Bone labeled DiIorio “one of our biggest warriors” and compared him to gritty Gonzaga senior Mike Hart.
“You don’t see it on the stat sheet as far as points per game, but he (DiIorio) makes winning plays,” Bone said. “It hurt to lose him.”
DiIorio has played in all nine games for the Cougars. His per-game averages of 14.4 minutes, 3.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists are career highs, as are his shooting percentages of 57.1 from the field, 87.5 from the free-throw line and 1.000 on 3-pointers (he’s 1-for-1).
The Cougars (5-4) play four more non-conference games before opening Pacific-12 Conference play Jan. 5 against visiting Washington.
Fresno State (5-3) visits WSU on Sunday (noon, Pac-12 Networks).
Hundreds of people turned out at Chaifetz Pavilion on the Saint Louis campus Friday to honor Billikens coach Rick Majerus, who died Dec. 1 of heart failure at the age of 64.
He was remembered fondly, with speakers describing him as funny but passionate, exacting but caring, and a coaching genius who got the best out of his players.
Large photographs near the front showed the rotund coach surrounded by young men a foot taller, working the sidelines, seated on a stool patiently teaching attentive players. Dozens of plays drawn up by Majerus, scribbled in marker on white paper, encircled the room, which was a practice gym where Majerus spent countless hours passing on his knowledge.
Majerus demanded effort both in the classroom and on the court. Two of his SLU players, Brian Conklin and Kevin Lisch, were academic all-Americans.
His success on the court was impressive, too — a 517-216 record in 25 seasons, just one of which had a losing record. He had 15 20-win seasons and two 30-win seasons. He led Utah to the 1998 NCAA finals and took 12 teams to the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game in all but one of those appearances.
Mississippi forward Jason Carter has been dismissed from the basketball team for an unspecified violation of team rules. The 6-foot-8 transfer from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College was suspended before the first exhibition game and never played in a game. … LSU coach Johnny Jones says starting guard Anthony Hickey has been suspended indefinitely because of an unspecified violation of athletic department and university policies. … Creighton guard Josh Jones is returning to Omaha, Neb., for additional tests after fainting before a game.The Associated Press contributed to this report