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Dogs dominate defensively

January 30, 2014

 

Kenneth “Speedy” Smith waits to make a play on the ball. – Photo by Donny Crowe

Kenneth “Speedy” Smith waits to make a play on the ball. – Photo by Donny Crowe

Will Trahan
Staff Reporter

 

Louisiana Tech’s Dunkin’ Dogs are known for putting the ball in the hoop with the best of teams, but it is their defense that has become the bread and butter of the squad.

 

The defense of the Dogs has been formidable for opponents they have faced.

 

Tech has scored nearly 400 more points than their opponents this year.

 

The stats for this year include a plus-5.4 turnover margin, a plus-4.3 rebounding margin, a plus-18.7 rebounding edge and a plus-2.4 blocks per game margin.

 

The player who charges this defense with his thunderous blocks is Michale Kyser, a 6-9 junior forward from Lancaster, Texas.

 

Michale Kyser jumps to block the shot of an opponent. – Photo by Donny Crowe

Michale Kyser jumps to block the shot of an opponent. – Photo by Donny Crowe

Kyser has blocked 71 shots so far this season with no signs of slowing down.

 

“I focus on my interior defense and blocking shots and when I get the chance, turning that into offensive opportunities,” Kyser said when asked about his game.

 

The defense of Kyser in the paint and blocking shots has helped the wide scoring ratio against other teams.

 

“My team knows that I am going to try my hardest every time I go out there to get every block that I can and every block I make should lead to the next fast break,” Kyser said.

 

Another key part to the defense is the polar opposite of Kyser’s inside the paint physicality-Kenneth “Speedy” Smith’s ability to cause the turnover and contest shots.

 

Smith is a 6-3 junior guard from St. Petersburg, Fla.

 

“He is phenomenal, he is one of the best passers in the country, but he has become a floor general for us on defense,” head coach Mike White said.

 

Smith leads the team with 50 steals on the season, which is a key part to the positive turnover margin on the season.

 Sports Info Graph

 

“He has always been a leader for our team, he gets people where they need to be to make plays and is always a pest on defense even if he is not stealing the ball,” White said. “He throws his body around on the glass and leads by example, almost becoming a coach for us.”

 

Along with his 50 steals on the year, he is averaging 7.4 assists per game, which benefits directly from the defensive play of this team.

 

“I worry about defense first when going into a game because if I do that, the offense will follow,” Smith said.

 

Smith has definitely earned his nickname by being all over the court and in every player’s face contesting shots.

 

“I try to think about what I would do in the same situation and look at the guy I am defending and figure it out,” Smith said. “I also just hustle all the time on the court and sometimes I just get lucky.”

 

The Bulldogs are enjoying an eight-game win streak when playing in the Thomas Assembly Center and look to keep up the defensive effort while going through conference play.

 

Email comments to bwt008@latech.edu.

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