No. 15 Illinois Tops Spartan Wrestling, 29-6
Jan. 26, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team fell to No. 15 Illinois, 29-6, Sunday afternoon at Jenison Field House. Ninth-ranked senior Mike McClure recorded a 6-1 decision over Chris Lopez at heavyweight, while Nick McDiarmid defeated Jeff Koepke at 197 pounds, 9-6, to lead the Spartans.
McClure, who defeated No. 1 Adam Coon of Michigan on Friday in Ann Arbor, continued his impressive weekend with a solid 6-1 win over Lopez. After a scoreless first period, McClure got on the board with an escape 20 seconds into the second, and delivered a takedown one minute later to go up, 3-0. McClure added another takedown in the third and tacked on a riding time point (1:07) to exit with a 6-1 decision.
"I feel like things are starting to click," said McClure, who improved to 19-4 on the season. "I've been working on my shots and finishing them at practice, and that certainly played a big part in my win at Michigan. The match was close today, but I felt like I did what I had to do to get the win for the team."
"Mike has worked very hard to get where he's at," said Michigan State head coach Tom Minkel. "He really understands the sport and even as a fifth-year senior, he continues to learn and get a little bit better each and every week."
McDiarmid also went 2-0 on the weekend at 197 pounds. He held off Koepke on Sunday in a flurry of action in the third period, which featured three takedowns and a reversal. McDiarmid held a 2-1 lead going into the third, and escaped early to take a 3-1 advantage. Koepke tied it at 3 with a takedown with 1:36 left, but McDiarmid escaped and tallied a takedown less than 10 seconds later to go back on top, 6-3. Koepke managed to get out from under McDiarmid and notched a takedown with under 30 seconds remaining to tie it once again at 6; however, McDiarmid scored a reversal with 15 seconds left and also stockpiled 3:52 of riding time during the match to get the 9-6 victory.
Illinois (7-5, 1-4 Big Ten) won the first five matches of the dual, which started at 149 pounds. In a close match at 149, Nick Trimble recorded three takedowns in the third period, but it wasn't enough to overcome a five-point deficit after two periods, as he lost, 8-6, to No. 19 Caleb Irvin.
No. 12 Zac Brunson beat Roger Wildmo, 11-7, at 157 pounds, while 12th-ranked Jackson Morse rallied to defeat Bobby Nash at 165, 6-2.
The Illini won the final three matches of the dual at 125, 133 and 141 pounds to close out with a 29-6 victory. Defending national champion Jesse Delgado earned a technical fall over Brenan Lyon at 125, 23-6. At 133 pounds, Garth Yenter had a chance to tie up the match against No. 11 Zane Richards in the third period and nearly recorded a takedown with under 30 seconds remaining, but after a stalemate was called, Richards bounced back and got a late takedown of his own in the 7-2 win. John Fahy won the last match of the dual with a 8-3 victory over Brian Gibbs.
"We have to be resilient," said Minkel. "We're wrestling the top teams in the country every week. My message to the team was that we're getting better; we're making improvements in every weight class. We have to stay on that track. We can't get discouraged and we can't get down, because that keeps you from where you want to go.
"This is a really good group of young men. The important thing for us is to stay optimistic and stay focused on what we can control, which is how we wrestle. We'll evaluate our mistakes, look on where we can improve and what we're doing well, and then make some adjustments and make sure that we're better next weekend than we were this weekend."
The Spartans (5-8, 0-5) return to action Friday, Jan. 31 to face top-ranked Penn State at 7 p.m. in Jenison Field House.
No. 15 Illinois 29, Michigan State 6
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