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HUNTINGTON — Marshall men’s basketball head coach Dan D’Antoni has been fine-tuning the Herd’s engine for the last few weeks, joining his staff in making tweaks to get things running right.

On Tuesday night, Marshall’s tweaked rotation found some extra horsepower during its 93-79 win over Louisiana with all systems performing optimally.

With a slimmed rotation of nine players, there was no misfiring as the Herd’s octane levels on both ends stayed high in the win.

The octane boost came from the defensive end where Marshall established itself early, using active hands to force four Louisiana turnovers in the first five possessions of the game.

It was the first stretch in a game in which Marshall forced 28 turnovers and turned them into 32 points by getting out in transition and taking advantage of odd-man situations against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“When we get in transition, we’re pretty effective,” D’Antoni said. “If we can play good enough defense to allow us to keep that going, I don’t care who we play, we’re going to be a pretty good ballclub.”

That transition game will be important moving forward as the Herd takes part in its first road test of the season on Saturday night at Big Ten foe Indiana, who kept Jackson State to just 20.7% from the floor in a 70-35 win on Tuesday.

With the Hoosiers half-court defense serving as a strong point, Marshall’s transition game will be important. It is one that D’Antoni feels the Herd can utilize, though with several guys transferring defense-to-offense quickly.

“We’ve got some horses in transition now,” D’Antoni said. “You’ve got Andy (Taylor) who will barrel down at you, Taevion (Kinsey) will come at you, (Darius) George will come at you, Obinna (Anochili-Killen) will come at you and they’ll finish on all that stuff.”

Killen has been one player who has run the floor in transition exceptionally well.

Less than 30 seconds into making his first appearance in Tuesday’s win over Louisiana, Killen grabbed a defensive rebound then sprinted down the floor for an and-1 finish that got the Herd moving.

There were also several more plays where Killen blocked a shot, which started the break going the other way. Killen currently leads Division I in blocked shots with 30 through five games — a pace that, if kept throughout the season, would break Hassan Whiteside’s single-season record of 182.

“You’ve got a monster back there in Obinna,” D’Antoni said. “I’ve got Whiteside’s number. I’m going to text him, ‘I believe that banner you’ve got or whatever — that record you’ve got — might be coming down for the year.’”

D’Antoni said the key for Killen is that he is able to keep balls in play after his block, which allows Kinsey and Taylor to push tempo and get shots quickly.

“He blocks without fouling and most of his blocks stayed in bounds,” D’Antoni said. “He didn’t swat them and try to knock them up in the fourth row. He just hits it and we end up with most of them.”

Marshall is quickly making a name for itself late, by having the energy to finish out games strong on both ends.

Even in the loss to Campbell, Marshall trailed by eight with four minutes left, only to take a brief lead before falling 67-65.

The norm is being established that energy and activity are sustained by Marshall for 40 minutes.

With the energy and activity on both ends growing, so too is the ceiling for Marshall men’s basketball.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch, who also covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.

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