Turgeon acknowledges that their win in Blacksburg was huge, but he also noted that he thinks every game is huge. While he was happy his team won, his players weren’t happy with the way they played.
“We weren’t really jumping for joy in the locker room the other night,” said Turgeon. “We missed a lot of free throws. We were really good defensively at the end but we didn’t play our best game – which is encouraging because we came out on top. But I think it gave us a shot in the arm going forward. We needed it. Obviously that’s an understatement, but we needed it.”
Sophomore Dez Wells didn’t look like his usual self, Thursday night. He turned the ball over a team-high four times. Turgeon was forced to pull him early, which seemed to really affect his energy for the rest of the game. Wells, who has only been with the team since November, has been the Terps emotional leader all season. When his energy isn’t high, it rubs off on the rest of his team. Turgeon said when that happens, guys like James Padgett and Pe’Shon Howard need to step up.
Turgeon was really proud of the minutes he got out of Howard against Virginia Tech. He thinks that Howard is much more comfortable in his current role because it takes a lot of pressure off him.
“He only played 14 minutes. But he really gave us 14 good minutes,” Turgeon said. “His role is limited; it’s not what it was. Can it expand in a certain game? Absolutely, if we have guys making shots. I just got to have shooters on the floor, it’s hard.”
With Howard in a limited role, Sophomore Nick Faust has been asked to play a lot more point guard. It’s clear that Faust hasn’t been as confident on the court since the switch. Turgeon has confidence in Faust; He just wants Faust to start believing himself a little more.
“Is he thinking too much? Nick’s played one way his whole life and now he’s trying to play a different way. Yeah, it’s hard on him,” said Turgeon. “He’s getting a little bit more comfortable. The way he was playing wasn’t good for our team.”
With seven of their 10 regular contributors being freshmen or sophomores, there’s no doubt this Terps team is young. Everyone can see it. Coach Turgeon is just tired of hearing it.
“You can’t use the youth excuse anymore,” said Turgeon, who thinks his team has gained plenty of experience.
Freshman Shaquille Cleare has struggled keeping out of foul trouble lately, but Turgeon doesn’t think it’s all his fault.
“The thing about Shaq is he’s so strong, kids run into him and they bounce off and it looks like a foul. (Referees) have to get used to reffing him,” Turgeon said.
Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.