From the shriek-voiced singing of the national anthem to the screaming hordes here tonight, it was one long yell against Maryland.
But Derrick Lewis made two free throws with 16 seconds remaining to give the Terrapins a badly needed road victory, 42-41, over West Virginia at University Coliseum.
Guard Dale Blaney took the Mountaineers' final shot, a 16-foot jumper over Keith Gatlin with three seconds to play. It bounced off the rim to give Maryland the victory in what was probably one of the sloppiest games to grace this stadium.
But it was a good one for the Terrapins (5-2) under the circumstances, coming off last week's 64-63 loss to Nevada-Las Vegas, and coming into this place.
It is a disconcerting arena for visiting players, and the closest the Terrapins have been this season to the conditions of the Atlantic Coast Conference: a hostile, writhing den of 7,737 West Virginia fans, and a gun belonging to the Mountaineers mascot that was repeatedly fired. The Mountaineers had lost just seven games here since 1981.
West Virginia's record over that span was 77-7 coming in, and the Mountaineers, who dropped to 3-4, seemed intent on making Maryland their latest victim. They held all-America forward Len Bias to 16 points, the first time this season he's had fewer than 20. And, with only two of his points coming in the second half, they led by a point with 54 seconds remaining.
"To come into a building like this and win has got to be good for us," Coach Charles G. Driesell said. "We turned the ball over there a few times and it was a hard-fought game, and sometimes that makes you look bad. But the game has to be a plus."
Bias still led all scorers and was the only player for either team in double figures.
Both teams generally played poorly in a slow-moving contest that held no real drama until the closing moments despite the close score: Maryland never had more than a four-point lead, West Virginia never led by more than two, and they were tied at 27 at the half.
The Mountaineers shot 41.3 percent, and only 25 percent in the second period (six of 24 from the floor). The Terrapins shot 31.9 percent for the game and 21.7 in the second half, when they made five of 23 shots.
"We didn't play very well, but we played well enough to win," Coach Gale Catlett of the Mountaineers said. "It was a strange game, because of the slowness and some things that happened. It's one of those things that's best to forget about."
The Mountaineers had gone up by one with 54 seconds left when Lewis was called for his fourth personal foul under the West Virginia basket, sending Vernon Odom to the line for two free throws. He made the first, missed the second and it was 41-40 for the Mountaineers.
The Terrapins called a timeout and, when they returned, guard Jeff Baxter tried a shot from deep in the corner that had no chance. West Virginia center Darryl Pinckney came down with the rebound, but in doing so he came down on top of Lewis and was called for the foul.
Lewis made the first to tie it up, and the second for the lead. They were his only points, but he had eight rebounds.
"We're mostly relieved," Lewis said. "I don't like this arena much. It's loud, and they've got that gun, and you can't hear . . . I don't think anybody played particularly well. It came down to who could make the last shots."
There were more turnovers than points early in the second half. In the first seven minutes, there were 11 turnovers and nine points.
Maryland had taken its four-point lead on Baxter's jump shot and Bias' force inside. It was 33-29 with 15:20 left and the Terrapins had a chance to break the game open.
But they turned the ball over four times in a row, and went scoreless from 15:17 until 8:46 remained. They finished with 13 turnovers.
Tom (Speedy) Jones lost the ball out of bounds, Pinckney stole a pass from Bias, Gatlin lost the ball inside, and Baxter lost the ball to Blaney when he tried to bounce a pass by him.
Bias made another mistake with 12:07 remaining. On an inbounds pass, he was called for a technical; he had slapped at the ball in frustration because he thought a foul should have been called. That sent Odom to the line for a free throw that made it 33-30.
A bad pass by Lewis gave the ball back to West Virginia with 10:58 left, and Odom closed it to one. Jones finally scored with a jumper at 8:46 that made it 35-32, the Terrapins' first points since 15:20.
Bias had scored 20 or more points in the Terrapins' previous six games. A seventh straight 20-plus performance would have tied him for the Maryland record with John Lucas, who set the record for consecutive 20-plus games in 1973-74, when he was a sophomore.
"Between the turnovers and everyone holding the ball, there wasn't room for too many shots," Bias said.
Even so, he moved into sixth place on Maryland's all-time scoring list, with his 161 points this season giving him 1,567 for his career. He passed Greg Manning, who scored 1,561.
Renardo Brown led the Mountaineers with nine points, followed by freshman Darryl Prue, a graduate of Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. Prue had eight points in his first collegiate start.