"Too easy, too easy," Andre Smith shouts time and again as he watches his Gray Wolves defend their basket.
For the coach of the third-year program, nothing short of in-your-face pressure and the perfect rotation is acceptable. Smith guesses he devotes 80 percent of practice time to defense and spends part of pre-game warmups running Lourdes through shell drills.
Too easy? Tell that to the other guys.
Lourdes put its latest opponent on lockdown in 63-25 victory over Lawrence Tech on Wednesday at Tam-O-Shanter.
A Gray Wolves team that came in leading NAIA Division II in points allowed (51.6 per game) delivered their most stifling performance yet, holding the visitors to single digits through the first 14-plus minutes and ceding little ground after.
Lourdes (13-6, 8-4 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) forced 22 turnovers and limited Lawrence Tech (2-18, 1-11) of Southland, Mich., to 23.7 percent shooting (9 for 38). The 25 points allowed marked a school record.
"Defense is us, that’s the team," said guard Remy Fleurima, who had 10 points and a pair of the Gray Wolves’ 17 steals. "We have this saying. We like to dance and hear music, so the music is us talking on defense."
Said Smith: "In order to get where we’re trying to be as a team, we have to put in extra effort on the defensive end. These last two days of practice, we worked pretty much all on defense."
Lourdes took a 36-15 lead into halftime. Its advantage ballooned to 52-15 with 12 minutes left.
Junior guard Elvin Butler scored a game-high 18 points. Alex Davis, Corey Harvey, and Ron Dukes each added eight. Nine players saw at least 15 minutes.
It was the sixth win in seven games for the developing program, which has risen from 12 wins in its debut season to 17 wins and a berth in the 32-team national tournament last year to the fringe of conference contention this winter. The Gray Wolves are 1½ games behind first-place Madonna.
Contact David Briggs at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.