NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Rutgers wins in each of the first five bouts set the tone Saturday at the College Ave. Gym, before Billy Smith (Wantage, N.J.) sent the RU faithful home with a heavyweight decision and a 24-11 dual win over in-state rival Princeton.
No. 21 Rutgers (13-7, 2-7 Big Ten) ended its home dual season against the Tigers and closes the year on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Drexel.
"It was great to finish the home schedule with a big win for our fans," said head coach Scott Goodale. "The fans gave us a great home match environment this season. We really appreciate the support."
The Scarlet Knights were on their way to a win at the intermission, picking up wins from 125-157 pounds to build an 18-0 lead.
125-pounder Sean McCabe (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) and No. 18/15/NR/17 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio (South Plainfield, N.J.) each earned major decisions in their matchups to start the dual. McCabe (15-8, 11-6 Duals) converted his takedown as time expired to secure the major, while DelVecchio (18-7, 12-5 Duals) controlled his match throughout.
Decisions from No. 17/14/17/20 149-pounder Ken Theobold (Toms River, N.J.) and No. 9/7/12/9 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield, N.J.) to follow made the dual score 14-0. Theobold (22-5, 16-3 Duals) bounced back from a loss last week to keep pace with Ashnault (22-4, 18-2 Duals) for the team wins lead. Ashnault has won his last five matches, grinding out a 3-2 decision against Jordan Laster Saturday.
No. 14/18/12/17 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti (Roseland, N.J.) also extended his winning streak to five with a 14-2 major decision against Rich Eva. The West Essex HS product has won three of his last four matches by major decision and is now 17-6 on the season.
Redshirt senior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro (Long Branch, N.J.) kept pace with No. NR/18/NR/NR Jonathan Schleifer through the first, but fell behind after surrendering a takedown and two back points in the second period in a 12-3 loss.
174-pounder Phil Bakuckas (Hammonton, N.J.), ranked No. 20 in the latest NCAA Coaches Panel, got back on track with an 8-3 decision against Judd Ziegler. The win was the first not by forfeit for Bakuckas (18-11, 11-9 Duals) since Jan. 25 at Maryland.
Princeton (8-6, 5-4 EIWA) strung together consecutive wins at 184 and 197 pounds over Anthony Pafumi (Westfield, N.J.) and Hayden Hrymack (Point Pleasant, N.J.), respectively, to make the dual score 21-11 with one bout remaining.
But a pair of takedowns and a reversal from Smith (13-6, 10-6 Duals) in a commanding 7-2 win allowed RU to end the dual on top. Smith controlled Ray O'Donnell from the top position, accruing 5:11 of riding time in the win.
Prior to the match, the program honored redshirt senior Nick Visicaro and senior manager Carly Ashnault.
The Scarlet Knights also welcomed the Embrace Kids Foundation and nine-year-old Brandon to a match for the second consecutive year. Brandon is paired with the Rutgers wrestling team through the RU4Kids program.
Rutgers closes the dual season on Thursday, Feb. 19 at Drexel.
125: Sean McCabe (RU) major dec. over Trey Aslanian (PU), 10-2; Rutgers leads, 4-0
133: No. 18/15/NR/17 Scott DelVecchio (RU) major dec. over Jordan Reich (PU), 13-5; Rutgers leads, 8-0
141: No. 9/7/12/9 Anthony Ashnault (RU) dec. over Jordan Laster (PU), 3-2; Rutgers leads, 11-0
149: No. 17/14/17/20 Ken Theobold (RU) dec. over Chris Perez (PU), 5-3; Rutgers leads, 14-0
157: No. 14/18/12/17 Anthony Perrotti (RU) major dec. over Rich Eva (PU), 14-2; Rutgers leads, 18-0
165: No. NR/18/NR/NR Jonathan Schleifer (PU) major dec. over Nick Visicaro (RU); Rutgers leads, 18-4
174: No. NR/20/NR/NR Phil Bakuckas (RU) dec. over Judd Ziegler (PU), 8-3; Rutgers leads, 21-4
184: Brett Harner (PU) major dec. over Anthony Pafumi (RU), 10-2; Rutgers leads, 21-8
197: No. 13/15/15/10 Abe Ayala (PU) dec. over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 13-6; Rutgers leads, 21-11
285: No. 14/18/20/11 Billy Smith (RU) dec. over Ray O'Donnell (PU), 7-2; Rutgers wins, 24-11