Chuck Driesell, son of Maryland's basketball coach, made a free throw and got a standing ovation. To many in the crowd of 7,300, it was the most exciting thing that happened in the Terrapins' 91-73 victory over Canisius last night at Cole Field House.
Senior center Charles Pittman scored a college career-high 23 points to lead the Terrapins, and Coach Lefty Driesell got a sustained period of good basketball from some of his substitutes.
Reserve forward Pete Holbert had 13 points in 17 minutes, guard Steve Rivers made four of five shots and had 12 points in 17 minutes and center Taylor Baldwin got eight rebounds in 18 minutes.
The reserves helped Maryland (10-5) shoot 70 percent in the second half, after hitting only 37 percent before halftime. Maryland made its first nine shots of the second half and steadily increased a 10-point halftime lead.
But as well as the substitutes played, it was Pittman who dominated play at both ends against the smaller Golden Griffins (9-4), who played much of the game without a center.
Pittman, who also had 10 rebounds, missed his first three shots but made his next six. He made seven of 11 in all, several of them slam dunks.
"Pittman really hurt us inside," said Canisius Coach Nick Macarchuck.
Much of Pittman's success was Canisius' fault.
"There were rarely any defensive players in front of me," Pittman said. "And my teammates kept getting me the ball all night. With no one fronting me, it was a matter of turning and shooting a short shot or going to the basket."
Pittman also made nine of 10 foul shots and led Maryland's 74 percent free throw shooting. The Terrapins made 31 of 42 free throws; the Golden Griffins, from Buffalo, 19 of 29.
Canisius took a 13-11 lead on Robert Turner's basket with 11 minutes to go in the first half, but Pittman's dunk tied the game. And freshman Adrian Branch, who had 15 points, seven rebounds, three assists and no turnovers, got a three-point play that put Maryland ahead for good, 16-13, 10 minutes before halftime.
Canisius got 22 points from forward Ray Hall and 18 from guard Phil Seymore. But the Griffins' two big men, 6-foot-9 Lee Stringfellow and 6-6 Bryan Carver, totaled seven points and failed to stay with Pittman on defense. The Griffins also shot 38 percent.
A dunk by Branch as he jumped over a defender helped wake the crowd with 14 minutes to play. But the only true excitement came when rarely used Chuck Driesell entered the contest and made the second of two free throws, with 2:04 to play.
Every time Driesell touched the ball, even when he was on the other side of halfcourt, spectators stood and shouted, "Shoot, Jr. . . . Shoot." Driesell missed all three of his shots, but still was cheered.
"It upsets me a little when the crowd does that," his father said. "It makes Chuck look like a hot dog. I think he listens to the fans, and he's got to learn how to handle that."