“I’d just had enough of selfishness, not boxing out, not defending,” Turgeon said. “You can go down our whole list, and if you can find a player who played well today, I’ll argue that you’re wrong.”
Turgeon knows that 15-11 overall and 5-7 in the ACC isn’t bad for a team that started the season without point guard Pe’Shon Howard because of a broken foot and now will finish it without him after he tore his ACL.
What’s more, 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len, who shows flashes of huge potential, also manages to be invisible for lengthy stretches. On Saturday, Len played 20 minutes and didn’t score. That’s not good, but it can happen.
He also had zero rebounds. That should be impossible for someone his size.
That’s why Turgeon doesn’t want to kill his team or Stoglin even when Stoglin’s play is making Turgeon old long before his time. When someone asked if he would consider taking freshman Nick Faust off the point because Faust is clearly not cut out to play the position, Turgeon shook his head.
“If we put Terrell on the point, we might go 17 possessions where nobody else touches the ball,” he said. Realizing how that sounded, he caught himself. “Of course he gets frustrated sometimes because guys don’t finish.”
A few minutes later, standing outside his locker room, Turgeon shook his head. “We did get tired,” he said. “But I can’t let them off the hook. We need to keep competing even when it’s tough.”
For Bennett, the day was as sweet as it was bitter for Turgeon. As the final seconds ticked off, he went down his bench congratulating each of his players for being ready to play when they absolutely had to be ready to do so.
Then he went to offer a consoling handshake to Turgeon, who was pretty much inconsolable.
“We’ll be better,” Turgeon said as he headed for the door.
No doubt they will. Two years ago, during Bennett’s first season, Virginia was 15-16.
The Cavaliers won their 20th game of the season Saturday. Something for Turgeon to look forward to down the road.
Just not on this day.
For John Feinstein’s previous columns, go to washingtonpost.com/feinstein. For more by the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com.