This time last week, Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon wasn't feeling too well. He wasn't sleeping much. He was having to explain to the media how the No. 9 team in the nation could get blown out in back to back games. And he was forced to answer a lot of "sympathy" phone calls from colleagues around the country—much to his chagrin.
"I got a lot of sympathy calls, which I hate," Turgeon said. "I heard from everyone, but I told them, don't worry about me, I've got a great life, and a great job. I'll be fine. I'll get through this. I just hate to lose. Losing is no fun, it kills you. You guys have no idea what it does to (me)."
But after a heart-breaking 5 overtime loss to Baylor—the longest basketball game in Big 12 history—the Aggies bounced back strong, earning their second straight win in Stillwater, teaching Turgeon a lot about his team and putting him in a much better mood.
"What the guys did (against Oklahoma State) was amazing," Turgeon said during Monday's media luncheon. "To be in a five overtime game and losing that game, and then having to travel for a 1:00 game, it was tough. I thought our guys did a good job and our trainers did a good job of getting everyone ready to play. We really just gutted it out. We weren't very good early, we were heavy legged, we turned the ball over and were a little sloppy. Then the guys got their second wind, they started to perform better and played with confidence.
"What I learned from that game is we've got a bunch of gutty guys. It was all about toughness and we made our free throws and got some stops at the end. Oklahoma State is the first close game where we had to have stops and we got them. That's how you win close games."
And that's good news for the Aggies, who's schedule won't get any easier with No. 10 Texas coming to Reed Arena on Wednesday night, loaded with lots of talented guards, including preseason Big 12 Player of the Year D.J. Augustin.
But Turgeon believes the dark days are over as his team continues to improve in practice.
"It's been an interesting stretch for us and teams go two different directions, they can split apart or they can come together. We continue to come together, you can feel it in practice," Turgeon said. "It would be easy for these guys to say, ‘Man this year's just not meant to be, we're 1-3, here we go on the road again,' but these guys are fighters, they don't quit and there's a lot of basketball to be played."
So while Turgeon answered lots of sympathy calls from other coaches around the country, he's hoping that the tone of those phone calls begins to change as the Aggies try to regain the swagger they had just two weeks ago.
"I talk to a lot of guys in the business," Turgeon said. "Coach (Larry) Brown has been really concerned about me, he makes good points. But I've got to be a man and do it on my own. That's how I've always been. But I've always better when people start to doubt me, so we'll see what happens the rest of the year."
The rest of the year starts on Wednesday, and according to Turgeon, perhaps A&M fans should continue to doubt their first-year head coach.
Turgeon feeling better about Aggies
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