NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 10 University of Oklahoma wrestling team fought down to the wire on Saturday night with a 19-15 win against Big 12 foe Iowa State at McCasland Field House. Despite taking an early 13-0 lead the Cyclones battled within one of the Sooners twice throughout the duration of the match leaving fans on the edge of their seats with just a few minutes left to spare.
"I think it was a good night. After the Midlands Championships we took off three days, and worked out once before this dual," explained Oklahoma head coach Mark Cody.
"That makes things kind of tough, because with those three days off they have to keep their weight under control and keep their legs underneath them come match time."
With the win, Oklahoma improves to 5-3 on the year in dual competition, and earns its first Conference victory of the season with a 1-1 Big 12 record. Iowa State falls to 1-3 in dual competition and loses its first Big 12 dual of 2012-13.
The match victory was left in the hands of No. 10 redshirt sophomore Cody Brewer, as he took to the mat against John Meeks in the final bout of the night.
"Cody was able to see what it was like to be a heavyweight tonight, because matches like that usually come down to the heavier guys," remarked Cody.
"For it all to come down to the last minute, that puts a lot of pressure on him," he continued. "He was able to pull through and get the win for both himself and the team."
Iowa State had inched within one point following the 125-pound matchup, but Brewer would fight through and secure the team's win with a 6-2 decision over John Meeks.
"I knew the scoring would be close in the final few bouts, but I tried to block it out," explained Brewer. "I tried to block out what was happening with the team and just focus on winning my matchup, but it was hard.
"As long as I won, and I did, that was the key."
Despite the nail-biting finish, the Sooners began the meet rather smoothly with four-straight victories.
Kendric Maple, the nation's top-ranked 141-pounder started OU's dual against Iowa State with a clean sweep over his opponent, No. 15 Luke Goettl courtesy of a 12-0 major decision. With the victory, Maple continues his redshirt junior campaign with an unbeaten 17-0 overall and 7-0 record in dual competition.
The victory marked Maple's second victory over Goettl this season as both wrestlers met just a week earlier at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill., where Maple took home an 11-5 decision over Goettl en route to the 141-pound title at the event.
Both Lester brothers followed suit as Nick picked up a thrilling 6-4 decision over ISU's Max Mayfield in the final seconds after he totaled one last takedown to break the tie and claim the win. Matt took to the mat immediately after with another 6-4 decision over Logan Molina, and improved Oklahoma to 10-0 against Iowa State in the opening bouts.
Patrick Graham, ranked fourth nationally out of all 165-pounders continued a four-match win streak for Oklahoma after he dished No. 20 Michael Moreno a 6-4 decision. Both wrestlers entered the third and final period of regulation tied, 4-4, but Graham used one escape and 1:15 of riding time to his advantage to take home the victory.
In the middle of the dual the Cyclones seemed to set their pace as three Sooner freshmen dropped consecutive bouts. It all began when Matt Reed took a 20-5 tech fall to Tanner Weatherman in the 174-pound bout, continued when Greg Wilson fell to Mikey England with a 10-5 decision and ended when Brad Johnson totaled two points to No. 16 Kyven Gadson's 10 to drop a major decision.
The three losses brought the Cyclones within one point of the Sooners, 13-12, before heavyweight veteran Keldrick Hall took to the mat.
The slow start to the heavyweight bout was no indication of how it would end. Neither Hall nor ISU's Cole Shafer totaled a point in the first period, but it was Oklahoma who was on the board first with a Hall escape. Shafer wouldn't strike until the final period when he escaped and then totaled a quick takedown to go up 3-1 over Hall. OU's veteran answered back with an escape, and with one second left on the board took down Shafer to claim the 4-3 decision and swing the momentum back in OU's favor with a 16-12 team score.
The Sooners will head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Jan. 18 to faceoff against Northern Iowa, before returning home for their final home match of the season on Jan. 20 against new Big 12 member West Virginia.
125: No. 19 Finch (ISU) dec. Garcia (OU), 2-0 ISU, 16-15
133: No. 10 Brewer (OU) dec. Meeks (ISU), 6-2 OU, 19-15
141: No. 1 Maple (OU) major dec. No. 15 Luke Goettl (ISU), 12-0 OU, 4-0
149: No. 11 Nick Lester (OU) dec. Max Mayfield (ISU), 6-4 OU, 7-0
157: No. 14 Lester (OU) dec. Molina (ISU), 6-4 OU, 10-0
165: No. 6 Bubby Graham (OU) dec. No. 20 Michael Moreno (ISU), 6-4 OU, 13-0
174: Weatherman (ISU) tech fall Reed (OU), 20-5 ISU, 13-5
184: England (ISU) dec. Wilson (OU), 10-5 ISU, 13-8
197: No. 11 Gadson (ISU) major dec. Johnson (OU), 10-2 ISU, 13-12
285: Hall (OU) dec. Shafer (ISU), 4-3 OU, 16-12