Terriers one win from a dance

March 11, 2010 - 3:29 am

Bostonians might again have a local team in the NCAA tournament, but this time around it might come from the other side of Commonwealth Avenue. With its 70-63 win over Stony Brook in the American East semifinals on Sunday, Boston University moved one win closer to an automatic bid in the NCAAs. Saturday's final at Vermont marks the Terriers' first league championship game since 2003, and they will be looking to put on their dancing shoes for the first time since 2002. You could call this season a success for the Terriers, but first-year coach Patrick Chambers wasn'€™t hearing that praise earlier in the season, and he said he understands why his team didn't deserve it. '€œUntil the last month and a week here, I don'€™t think many people have been asking me that question,'€ said Chambers, whose fourth-seeded Terriers (19-12) will visit No. 2 seed Vermont (24-9) in the championship game Saturday at noon (ESPN2). '€œThey'€™ve been asking if it'€™s such a struggle with a senior-laden team with such high expectations. We just stuck together and kept working hard every day in practice. I think our patience and perseverance have really paid off.'€ The Terriers were mired in an up-and-down season until everything turned around in the beginning of February. Stony Brook put a 71-55 beatdown on the Terriers at the end of January, and the coach could see his players were embarrassed by the loss. '€œAfter we got beat pretty badly at Stony Brook we came together,'€ Chambers said. '€œSometimes losses can do that for you. It'€™s a fine line, because sometimes after losses you can go the other way, but this team went back to work the next day, we got better and we went on a little bit of a run.'€ A little bit of a run is an understatement. Since that loss on Feb. 2, the Terriers are 9-1, with their only defeat coming to Vermont in a 76-75 thriller at Agganis Arena on Feb. 9. One of the big reasons for the run and the tournament win over Stony Brook win has been the play of Corey Lowe. The senior struggled with his jump shot down the stretch, but a little extra time in the gym helped Lowe break out of the slump and go off for 26 points and 24 in the last two games. Lowe, who Chambers said is the best sixth man in the league '€” was asked to come off the bench this season after being a mainstay in the starting lineup. Chambers was worried his senior leader wouldn'€™t accept that from the new coach, but Lowe just took it in stride for the good of the team. '€œI didn'€™t really have a problem with it. I just tried to do what [Chambers] asked of me, and he knows his stuff, so I figured he knew what he was talking about,'€ said Lowe, who was a standout at Newton North High School. '€œI'€™m definitely trying to be a little more vocal off the bench and keep supporting everyone until I come in and kind of pick up the energy or sustain the energy the other guys have started the game with.'€ For the Terriers, they will have to accomplish the same feat two games in a row. Stony Brook took both games during the regular season before the Terriers got revenge in the playoffs, and the same can be said for Vermont. Chambers said that the regular-season losses to both league foes might have been a blessing in disguise for his team entering the American East tourney. '€œI just felt like all those games maybe you are not supposed to win in order to teach lessons, in order for them to get better, in order for them to understand how hard you need to work in practice and what you need to do every game to play 40 minutes,'€ Chambers said. '€œI look back at those lessons as teaching lessons, as learning lessons that have put us in this situation.'€ Lowe said that the nine seniors are looking to finish their careers off with one NCAA appearance, something that has escaped them over the past four years. '€œThere'€™s going to be nothing to hide,'€ he said. '€œIt just depends who is going to play harder.'€