MADISON, Wis. -- Bouncing back from last weekend's two-dual slide, the No. 20 Wisconsin wrestling team (7-4, 4-2 Big Ten) returned home and -- helped by a pair of last minute match wins -- defeated Indiana (6-6, 0-4), 26-9, Friday at the UW Field House.
The Badgers claimed seven match wins on the night, two of which - 165 lbs., and heavyweight - were thanks to comeback efforts in the match's waning seconds. Head coach Barry Davis credited the Badgers' ability to come through when it matters most as the key to their win over the Hoosiers.
"Our guys are believing," Davis said. "And, as a result, we're finding ways to win the close matches."
• No. 11 Connor Medbery (Hwt.) won to remain undefeated (10-0) in dual competitions this season. The win is also his fifth of the season over a ranked Big Ten opponent.
• No. 5 Tyler Graff (133 lbs.) scored 11 takedowns in one of Wisconsin's three extra point wins on the evening.
• Cole Schmitt (149 lbs.) won his third straight match, his longest dual win streak of the season.
Davis credited his team's ability to win the tight ones to its ever increasing confidence, whose roots can be traced back to the conditioning work the Badgers have done this season.
"The guys come in everyday with a plan to work," Davis said. "We preach to the guys that they're in great shape, so they just need to let their wrestling take care of itself."
The first of those last-second wins came from Frank Cousins at 165 lbs., when it appeared that Indiana was on its way to a momentum building win.
Wisconsin was holding onto a slim, four-point lead, 10-6, at that point and Cousins and the Hoosiers' Ryan Konz were tied at two with just 50 seconds left in the match -- though Cousins was effectively trailing as Indiana had secured the ride time advantage point. But, Cousins pulled through, scoring a takedown with 13 seconds on the clock to earn a 4-3 win.
Davis said he talked to his team about the importance -- in terms of momentum -- that the 165 lbs., match carried, and that it was "big" for Cousins to be able to come through for them.
"We knew we needed to win there and Frank found a way to do it," Davis said. "It was good for Frank to get back on track. Frank has a lot of talent, he just needs to believe in his self the way we believe in him."
The Badgers never looked back after that point, taking over and pulling away from Indiana for the win.
Scott Liegel earned a major decision at 174 lbs., Jackson Hein received a forfeit at 197 lbs., and No. 11 Connor Medbery won at heavyweight in another last second effort.
Medbery remained undefeated (10-0) in dual competitions this season, but Indiana's No. 13 Adam Chalfrant didn't make it easy. Medbery trailed by a point, 3-2, until he pulled off a takedown and a two-point near fall in the match's final 30 seconds to seal the 6-3 win.
The win was the Loveland, Colo., native's fifth of the season over a ranked Big Ten opponent.
Wisconsin got off to a solid start in the dual thanks to a trio of wins at 133 lbs., 141 lbs., and 149 lbs.
At 133 lbs., No. 5 Tyler Graff continued his impressive season with a 23-7 technical fall win that included 11 takedowns for the redshirt junior.
Tom Kelliher won by decision, 9-2, at 141 lbs., and Cole Schmitt won by decision, 4-0, at 149 lbs.
Schmitt's win was his third-straight dating back to last weekend and Davis said that he's liked what he's seen from Schmitt during his recent turnaround and that if he can sustain his current roll, he will make the Badgers that much more potent heading down the season's stretch run.
"I've seen him make some changes," Davis said of Schmitt. "That kid has great ability and has a chance to great things for himself and this team. I think he's over the hump and it's good to see him doing the right things."
Wisconsin next heads to Hinsdale, Ill., on Monday for a match-up with No. 22 Purdue at 6:30 p.m.
The Badgers return home on Sun, Feb. 10, when they host Minnesota at 1 p.m., in their final home dual of the season.
125 Joe Duca (IND) dec. Matt Cavallaris (WIS), 7-3 3 0
133 #5 Tyler Graff (WIS) tech. fall Alonzo Shepard (IND), 23-7, 6:44 3 4
141 Tom Kelliher (WIS) dec. Alex Gregory (IND), 9-2 3 7
149 Cole Schmitt (WIS) dec. Preston Keiffer (IND), 4-0 3 10
157 #12 Taylor Walsh (IND) dec. Kalvin York (WIS), 8-6 6 10
165 Frank Cousins (WIS) dec. Ryan Konz (IND), 4-3 6 13
174 Scott Liegel (WIS) maj. dec. Cheney Dale (IND), 12-3 6 17
184 Luke Sheridan (IND) dec. Ben Cox (WIS), 2-0 9 17
197 #20 Jackson Hein (WIS) FFT 9 23
HWT #11 Connor Medbery (WIS) dec. #13 Adam Chalfant (IND), 6-3 9 26