The University of Maryland yesterday canceled its November basketball game with a team from the Soviet Union in College Park, in protest by the school administration of the Korean commercial jetliner downing.

"The culpability of the Soviet Union . . . and their continued arrogance and disdain to all legitimate inquiry from the world community, causes me to conclude that the playing of this game on our campus, against our intercollegiate basketball team, would be inappropriate," Athletic Director Dick Dull said.

Dull's statement said he had notified William Wall, executive director of the Amateur Basketball Association/USA. But Wall, reached early yesterday evening, said he had not talked to Dull or anyone from Maryland, and thought the statement was premature.

Dull said last night, "I entertained the thought of canceling the game the very day after the tragedy occurred. Having reflected on it all weekend and after listening to the president Monday night, I made what I thought was the right decision."

Dull said he sent a letter to Wall and that Dull's assistant, Gothard Lane, had been in touch with the ABAUSA earlier yesterday afternoon. He added that the cancellation could cost Maryland $20,000 or more.

A State Department spokesman, lauding the decision last night, said, "This action by the University of Maryland is indicative of the sense of outrage felt by people in this nation and around the world . . ."

Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said, "I concur with Mr. Dull, and we're now trying to find another opponent as a replacement."

The ABAUSA is under the umbrella of the United States Olympic Committee. Wall said, "The USOC is encouraging competition as usual" with the Soviet Union. "I understand the dilemma a university is in . . .

"We listened closely to President Reagan's statement Monday night, and he did not mention curtailing cultural exchanges. And we have always considered these basketball games as cultural exchanges. We abhor the tragedy, too, no question about it. "But I am very disappointed the University of Maryland didn't discuss it with us first. We were calling around the world this morning, trying to get a cross section of reaction from people who are constantly involved with international sports.

"The Pac-10 all-stars and the AAU Junior Olympic teams just returned from the Soviet Union, and both were treated very well. Sport is sport, and politics is politics. We separate the basketball federation from the political arena."

The game, Nov. 20, might have attracted a sellout crowd of 14,500 in Cole Field House. The last time a Soviet squad played there, 1975, there was a demonstration and more than an hour's delay after oil was thrown onto the floor. Maryland won, 100-96, in overtime.