Top-ranked Iowa holds off PSU

UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State and Iowa certainly know how to put on a show for the 15,967 fans Sunday afternoon at the Bryce Jordan Center and thousands more watching on the Big Ten Network.

In the end, though, the top-ranked Hawkeyes had a little talent on the raised mat than the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions.

All 10 bouts were decisions, including Jimmy Gulibon’s 8-4 win over third-ranked Cory Clark and Garret Hammond’s 4-2 win over No. 7 Nick Moore, and the match came down to 285 pounds with Iowa winning by three as a nervous, rowdy crowd started thinking about tiebreaker criteria. But, Bobby Telford defeated PSU’s Jimmy Lawson, 3-0, to give the Hawkeyes an 18-12 win.

“I think we got beat in a lot of strategy,” Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “We gave up points at the end of periods, and we didn’t come off the bottom. Am I happy? You’ve got to give some credit to us.”

“I think our guys fought hard,” PSU coach Cael Sanderson said. “We lose some close matches, but it’s all in the way you look at it.”

Jordan Conaway nearly got the Lions off to a good start in his 125-pound against Thomas Gilman. Gilman, who rode Conaway for 2:05 in the first period, took a 3-0 lead into the third period. Conaway curiously chose down for the period, but he escaped and took Gilman down to tie the score.

Gilman escaped and Conaway took him down again to take the lead. Gilman escaped, and Conaway pressed him as the crowd booed for a stalling call, but Gilman’s 2:01 riding time advantage was enough for a 6-5 win.

“Conaway was on an ankle with short time to win the match against a very good wrestler,” Sanderson said. “He had the momentum, and that’s just encouraging for him. I’m disappointed he didn’t quite get it, but it’s all in the way you look at it. Jordan is right there.”

With 1:05 left in the third at 133, Clark was awarded a penalty point when Gulibon was called for his third caution, giving Clark a 4-3 lead. Gulibon escaped to tie the score, and in the final 10 seconds, he bearhugged Clark, lifted him up and brought him back down to his back for a four points and an 8-4 win as the crowd roared its approval.

“It was kind of just like, I wasn’t really thinking at the time,” Gulibon said, “but Coach Cody (Sanderson) hit that on me a lot throughout practice, so I kind of had a feel for it I guess.”

“That guy (Gulibon) had one eye on the clock at the end of those periods,” Brands said, “and you felt him coming, so you’ve got to be ready for that type of thing.”

“I didn’t see much of it. The second official was right in front of me,” Sanderson said of the winning takedown. “Jimmy, when he’s determined to finish a shot, he’s going to finish a shot. That’s not really a go-to finish, coming up to a bear hug. I’ve seen a few people that that’s the way they wrestle. In a situation like that, he’s been wrestling his whole life, he’s got to trust his instincts and I think that’s what he did.”

At 141, Iowa’s Josh Dziewa, a Council Rock South graduate, earned a 9-4 win over Kade Moss, and Hawkeye 149-pounder Brandon Sorenson pulled off a 6-4 win over Zack Beitz, who missed a takedown at the edge of the mat with 1.2 seconds left.

Penn State’s Luke Frey, who moved up from 149 to 157 recently, was just cleared to wrestle an hour before the match because of a knee infection, Sanderson said. The choice to use him instead of Cody Law or Dylan Alton almost paid off as he was tied, 4-4, with Michael Kelly in the third period. But Kelly reversed and had riding time to win, 7-4. At the break, Iowa led, 12-3.

Hammond and Moore were tied, 2-2, in the third, thanks to Hammond fighting off a takedown attempt with 55 seconds left. With time winding down, Hammond shot in, lifted Moore, who was draped precariously over the PSU redshirt freshman’s back, and brought him down to the mat for a takedown with 7 seconds left to win, 4-2, thrilling the crowd.

“I guess I was a little extended,” Hammond said. “But I was just focused on finishing hard and I knew that would be my last opportunity to get a takedown so I just used all my strength and like I said, the fans were pretty sweet for helping me out.

“It was loud and exciting and I was happy. I’ve been close against some of these top guys and just focusing on winning and not being happy because no one cares if you lose close. You want to go out there and win.”

In a battle of top three 174-pounders, PSU’s third-ranked Matt Brown eked a 2-0 win over former Cumberland Valley wrestler Mike Evans, who was booed loudly by the fans when he was introduced. With Brown up 1-0 in the third, the crowd cheered loudly when Brown’s riding time advantage reached a minute. At the end, Brown gave a pump of his fist in celebration.

“I definitely think the crowd helped,” Brown said. “After I solidified the riding time and as the period was winding down, they got loud.”

The next two bouts were the closest to blowouts that the match produced. After Sammy Brooks beat PSU’s Matt McCutcheon, 7-1, at 184, Morgan McIntosh rolled to a 7-1 win over Nathan Burak. McIntosh appeared to be headed toward a major decision with a 6-0 lead entering the third, but he couldn’t produce a takedown.

Lawson got out of a Telford takedown attempt in the first period when he hit one of his customary gramby rolls, but that was the most Lawson could do. Telford got a stalling point in the second, escape in the third and riding time to win.

“I was a little passive, I think, and couldn’t really turn that guy on top, especially with that first period, when I had the opportunity to go behind him,” an intense Telford said. “He’s a roller. I knew he was going to roll. He went to it, and I had him by his foot, and he kicked out. Lesson learned there. Just pick him up and spike him on his hip.”

“He just didn’t do anything,” Sanderson said of Lawson. “The shoe comes off, he loses that stalling call. He got ridden for two minutes and that was the match. He’s got the ability to score points. He’s got speed and strength, strength and power that I don’t think can be stopped if he just goes and gets it. That’s where he just needs to find the confidence to pull that trigger.”

It’s another close loss for the Lions, who were beaten by Minnesota, 17-16, on Jan. 25.

“With both, there’s positives and negatives to take away,” Brown said. “It is disappointing. We didn’t want to lose by just a little bit.”

125-Gilman, I, dec. Conaway, 6-5; 133-Gulibon, PS, dec. Clark, 8-5; 141-Dziewa, I, dec. Moss, 9-4; 149-Sorenson, I, dec. Beitz, 6-4; 157-Kelly, I, dec. Frey, 7-4.

165-Hammond, PS, dec. Moore, 4-2; 174-Brown, PS, dec. Evans, 2-0; 184-Brooks, I, dec. McCutcheon, 7-1; 197-McIntosh, PS, dec. Burak, 7-1; 285-Telford, I, dec. Lawson, 3-0.

Records: Iowa (13-0 overall, 8-0 in Big Ten); Penn State (10-3 overall, 6-3 in Big Ten).

Att: 15,967.