Turgeon hoping for strong finish

It's been an rollercoaster of a season for first-year head coach Mark Turgeon, and after back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Texas, he needs a strong finish in the final five games of the year. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with Turgeon at Thursday's media luncheon.

With five games remaining in the regular season, the Aggies need to finish strong or risk being left out of the NCAA Tournament. No team from the Big 12 Conference has ever been offered an at-large bid with an 8-8 conference record, meaning the Aggies need to win three of their final five games to feel comfortable going into Selection Sunday.

But Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon, like every coach says, isn't looking too far ahead and is staying focused on Nebraska, and for good reason. The Huskers upset Kansas State at home on Wednesday night, which kept the Wildcats out of a three-way tie for first place in the Big 12.

"If we want to be a part of the big tournament, we've got to finish strong and give ourselves a chance to get hot going into (the tournament), and that's what we hope to do," Turgeon said. "If the season ended today, we'd be in, but it doesn't end today. If we lose all five games it would be hard to say we belong in there. We've got some work to do, but we don't talk to the team about that at all. You can't think about that. We've got to win as many as possible. Our goal, is to win five. But right now we're dialed in on Nebraska."

Turgeon said that sometimes it is good to face a team coming off a big win because they may let up a little bit, and it also helps him get his team's attention during the week at practice. But after a letdown against Oklahoma State at home last weekend, which is currently in 11th place in the Big 12, Turgeon isn't taking anything for granted.

" I don't think we were going to overlook anyone after what happened last Saturday, but as a coach you like playing against guys after they win, because maybe they let up a little bit," Turgeon said. "Nebraska will be focused, but our guys know what's at stake. They're as disappointed as anyone in what's happened in these last two games."

Turgeon is just hoping that he can press the magic button to get his team back to the kind of play that got them to 20-4.

"My job is to get us playing the way we were and right now we're not playing at that level," Turgeon said. "Last time we had adversity, we battled back, but we're not the same team we were when I sat here with you guys a week ago. The teams that are resilient and fight back and do what they have to do are the ones that make the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully we're going to finish the season strong and be one of those teams."

The Aggies are in desperate need of a win on Saturday or it could be a long fall out of the NCAA discussion, but Turgeon said he expects for the Aggies to bounce back and play well against a confident Nebraska team.

Embarrassed

Josh Carter said that the Aggies were embarrassed on Monday night after a 27-point route by the Texas Longhorns on ESPN's Big Monday telecast.

"We were embarrassed, but we move on, we're not as embarrassed today as we were on Monday," Turgeon said. "I'm sure Texas was a little embarrassed when they left our place as well. Hopefully the embarrassment we felt will help us be a better team on Saturday."

Turgeon said the Aggies pressed too hard and made poor shot selections trying to come back in the first half, which only put them in a deeper hole.

Inside game inconsistencies

Entering the season, many felt like the inside game would be the Aggies' strength this season, but they have struggled to remain consistent throughout the season.

Turgeon blames that on youth and inexperience, but says they've got to improve now.

"Joe was the only guy who played for us (a lot in the past)," Turgeon said. "Bryan Davis didn't play that much and DeAndre is a freshman. When they're playing well, we're usually pretty good. But when you're that young, there's going to be inconsistency. I look back at last week and we were 20-4 and that's pretty darn good. We've played two bad games, but I can't harp on them too much."

Joseph Jones has scored seven points or less in three of the Aggies' last four games, including a three-point effort against Texas on Monday night. Turgeon said that he's got to get more out of his senior leader.

"I had a coaching buddy who was watching the game the other night call me and he said it looked like Joe was looking around for someone to block his shot," Turgeon said. "I told Joe to go out there and knock someone's teeth out. It's different because he's got DeAndre Jordan on his team this year and he deserves some touches too, and he's got Bryan Davis playing well too. But he, Dominique (Kirk) and Josh (Carter) are the guys we're going to lean on down the stretch."




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