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ASU posts highest team score of season in commanding 39-6 win

BOISE, Idaho -- In a dual that featured all eight of the Sun Devils' wins by bonus points, Arizona State (10-4, 4-1 Pac-12) tallied their highest point total of the season as a team in a 39-6 victory at Boise State (2-9, 1-4 Pac-12) to cap the regular season.

The Devils finish 4-1 in Pac-12 competition for the first time since 2013-14 and post a 10-win season for the second consecutive year (first back-to-back 10-win seasons since 2004-05 and 2005-06).

"I think we're wrestling our best coming down to the end of the season," head coach Zeke Jones complimented his team following the match. "Lots of bonus points, taking care of small things on the mat, good focus and intensity, and aggressive wrestling - all the things you're supposed to do when competing at a high-level at the right time."

Michael Nguyen saw his first action in nearly a month at 125 lbs, starting the dual on a high note pinning Will Bardezbain in 2:10, his second fastest pin of the season. Among Nguyen's six wins this season, four have been by fall. Nikko Villarreal earned a 13-5 major decision, his first bonus point win in spring duals, at 141 lbs.

"It was good to see Nikko attacking and scoring points, but still needs work getting off the bottom. But the effort was good."

Reigning Pac-12 Wrestler of the Week, Josh Maruca powered out to an early 8-1 lead in the opening period at 149 lbs. and would ultimately earn a 20-4 tech fall in just over six minutes.

Josh Shields followed with a dominating 20-11 major decision with nearly three minutes of riding time accumulated, his third consecutive bonus point victory, pinning his opponent from Oregon State last weekend and earning a major decision vs. CSUB Thursday.

Anthony Valencia, the nation's seventh-ranked wrestler at 165 lbs., pinned his second opponent in three matches for his 10th pin of the season. A. Valencia moves into a tie for seventh on the Sun Devils' all-time list with his 20th bonus point victory this year.

Jacen Petersen improved to 3-0 in the last seven days with the Devils' fifth straight bonus point win, a 14-3 major decision at 174 lbs.

"Jacen Petersen just stayed focused and stayed on the attack. He's getting better every match."

Earning ASU's third pin of the match, Zahid Valencia improved to 31-0 on the season with his team-leading 11th fall of his freshman campaign, one away from finding a place on the single season pins list. Valencia's 21st bonus point victory of the season moves also him into sole possession of sixth place on the single season bonus point wins list.

"Josh Maruca, Josh Shields, Anthony and Zahid Valencia, and Tanner Hall are all doing what they're supposed to do - score points. They're putting people on their backs. That's hard to beat when you do that."

At heavyweight, Tanner Hall earned his fourth straight victory and third consecutive win by bonus points with the fourth major decision win of the contest.

The Devils won eight of 10 bouts for the second time this season (also in 31-9 win vs North Carolina on Jan. 20) with Boise State's Josh Newburg (133) and Keavon Buckley (197) earning the Broncos' only wins, both decisions.

All six Pac-12 wrestling teams - ASU, Oregon State, Stanford, Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Boise State - head to the Pac-12 championships hosted on the campus of Stanford University in two weeks (Feb. 26). The Sun Devils have two weeks of preparation ahead before making the trip to California.

Results:
125 - Michael Nguyen pins Will Bardezbain, 2:10 (ASU 6, BSU 0)
133 - Josh Newburg Dec. Ted Rico, 17-10 (RT: 1:54) (ASU 6, BSU 3)
141 - Nikko Villarreal MD Rami Haddadin, 13-5 (ASU 10, BSU 3)
149 - Josh Maruca TF Dakota Wall, 20-4 (6:01) (ASU 15, BSU 3)
157 - Josh Shields MD Fred Green (RT: 2:58), 20-11 (ASU 19, BSU 3)
165 - Anthony Valencia pins Demetrius Romero, 5:35 (ASU 25, BSU 3)
174 - Jacen Petersen MD Austin Dewey, 14-3 (ASU 29, BSU 3)
184 - Zahid Valencia pins Kadyn Del Toro, 2:48 (ASU 35, BSU 3)
197 - Keavon Buckley Dec. Austyn Harris, 9-3 (ASU 35, BSU 6)
HWT - Tanner Hall MD Gabe Gonzalez, 16-5 (ASU 39, BSU 6)

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