Maryland lost a boxing match but won a basketball game last night.
The Terps blew all except one point of a 17-point lead before defeating Pittsburg, 95-88, in front of 13,028 in Cole Field House.
The game was notable for the 51 fouls called by the officials and several others not called.
The most significant noncall of the night came 10 minutes into the game when Pitt's Sam Clancy sent Maryland backup center Taylor Baldwin flying with a punch in the mouth.
"I didn't see it until it was about three inches away," said Baldwin, who luckily was wearing a mouthpiece to protect a loose tooth. "i have to look at the films but I thought we were just pushing and shoving."
According to the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Clancym more was going on.
"I went to set a pick and he punched me in the stomach," Clancy said. "It was no accident when he did it and no accident what I did either. I just turned around and punched him in the mouth.
"I wanted to show him that I wasn't a pushover."
For 20 minutes last night the Panthers were just that, a bunch of pushovers.
The terps (11-2) came out flying. After Pitt led briefly, the last time at 16-15, the home club using its fullcourt press effectively, went to work.
In spite of being shaken by the Baldwin-Clancy mismatch, they blitzed the Panters for the last 14 mintes of the half by a 39-21 margin and held a 54-37 lead at halftime.
"I though the first half we played as good as we have all year," Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said. "We looked real good."
"I should have known at halftime that something was wrong, though. They were real quiet. Maybe I should have gotton on them but I figured we had a 17-point lead."
That lead gradually disappeared in the second half as Maryland looked as bad handling the press as Pitt had the first half. The Terps finished with 23 turnovers, the Panthers with 22.
"I don't know exactly what happened," said Buck Williams, who led the Terps with a college career high 24 points, along with 15 rebounds, "We kind of let things get out of control for awhile. But we got it back together just in time."
The Terps got it back together after Clancy (20 points, 13 rebounds) had cut the margin to 78/77 with a gorilla dunk with 6:25 to play.
Albert Kin (23 points) hit a jumper. Clancy missed and Williams sank two free throws. Ernie McMillian missed for Pitt and Greg Manning made it 84-77 with two foul shots.
When Williams made a layup after another Clancy miss with 4:30 to go to make it 88-77, the Terps, who had 22 points from the Manning and 20 from Eastern Graham, were home free.
Pitt has a 9-3 record, 3-1 in Eastern Eight play since this game counts in the leaque standings.
"It's good that even though we lost the lead, we got out composure back when it got close," said King. "Sometimes it's hard to get really intense about a nonconference game this time of year. But maybe getting away from it will be good for us."
Getting away from Clancy certainly will be good for the Terps. The junior with the muscular arms was a terror inside all night, leaving Maryland players in his wake almost every time he went up.
He also was something of a terror in the locker room, blasting the Terps, Driesell and the officials.
Five Pitt players, including Clancy, fouled out as the Panthers were called for 35 fouls.
"Maybe playin' in a close game tonight will help us down on the stretch," Driesell said. "But I still don't like it. It's not good for my nerves, my head, my ulcers or my feet. But we had a chance to blow it and didn't.
"I'm not complaining."