ALBANY, N.Y. – The Boston University men’s basketball team really couldn’t have asked any more of Corey Lowe on Saturday. The junior guard had 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists in third-seeded BU’s overtime loss in the America East Tournament to the sixth-seeded University of Maryland-Baltimore County at SEFCU Arena.
But, as absurd as it sounds, Lowe not reaching 34 points cost the Terriers. Up by one with about 20 seconds to go, Lowe wanted the ball in his hands, as he did most of the afternoon. He dribbled left of the paint, spun to free himself and went up strong to draw a foul with 17 seconds remaining.
After making the second, UMBC was down only two, but the first miss meant the Retrievers did not need a 3-pointer to tie. Granted, at only 60 percent on the year, free throw shooting has not been Lowe’s strength. Though making the first free throw wouldn’t have iced the game, Lowe was still unable to complete the effort.
On the other end of the floor, Retrievers senior forward Darryl Proctor (33 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists) had no difficulty coming through with his team’s season on the line. Guarded by BU senior forward Matt Wolff (5 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists), Proctor swished a fade-away jumper from eight feet through tough contact to eventually force overtime.
That’s the sort of leadership role Lowe is expected to play on BU, but his execution in big moments has been inconsistent. While Lowe made a runner against George Washington University in BU’s season opener to send the eventual losing effort into overtime, he also rimmed out on a potential buzzer-beating jumper against Binghamton University on Feb. 14.
In an overtime game during his freshman season at Stony Brook University, Lowe went to the line with eight seconds remaining, missed the first free throw and made the second, which allowed Ricky Lucas’ jumper to send the game into overtime. BU lost the game, 68-62.
‘Periodically, he’s gotten a lot of criticism he doesn’t deserve. He played real hard. He made a lot of big plays,’ BU head coach Dennis Wolff said of Lowe’s effort against UMBC.
Instead of walking off the court pounding his chest in a jubilant release and joking in the press conference about going to Outback Steakhouse for dinner ‘- like Proctor ‘- Lowe spent a good minute near the end of the game hunched over at mid-court, washing the season away in tears.
In reference to Proctor, UMBC coach Randy Monroe said: ‘He’s a willer. He put us on his back, and he was not to be denied tonight.’ ‘
Instead of Wolff being able to laud his star guard and his strong performance, he was forced to defend him at the expense of other Terriers.
‘Our inside players didn’t really come with the right approach in a game like this,’ Wolff said. ‘I’m extremely disappointed for Corey. That’s as good a game as a guy’s played in a big game in a long time for us.’ ‘
It was a game that included six three pointers, 11-of-25 shooting and 5-of-7 from the line for Lowe. It was a game that Lowe took over at times, such as when he scored five points in 30 seconds by penetrating the lane and earning an and-1 in transition with 4:36 left in regulation. It was a game in which Lowe more than doubled his previous career high in an America East Tournament game (16 points against the University of Hartford last year).
Like Proctor, Lowe too has proven he can carry the team on his shoulders.
‘We just try to do the best we can do for our team,’ Lowe said of himself and the UMBC forward.
But when that’s the case, it also means shouldering responsibility when the team isn’t able to close out a game it led by eight points with three minutes to go. Even if it also means having to apologize for mistakes made in a 33-point effort.