BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. -- Duke scored bonus points in six matches and won eight of the 10 to cruise to a 36-9 victory over Gardner-Webb in non-conference wrestling action Thursday night at Paul Porter Arena. The win sends the Blue Devils into 2019 with a 1-0 mark.
Duke picks up the dual victory in its lone match of the 2018 calendar year, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-2. Highlighting the evening was season-debuts for a quartet of Blue Devils, including sophomore Ben Anderson getting his first victory in a Blue Devil singlet.
"We don't normally wrestle in the first semester, but they wanted to and I was happy with our performance," said head coach Glen Lanham. "We had three guys not normally in the lineup and then Zach back. It was a good performance overall."
After Duke and Gardner-Webb traded forfeits at 125 and 133 pounds to start the action all square 6-6, sophomore Josh Finesilver quickly doubled the Blue Devils' lead to 12-6 with a fall in the second period against Blake Mulkey. The pin was the fifth of the season for 141-pounder, four more than he had in his entire rookie season.
The Blue Devils continued to add bonus points to their total as Mitch Finesilver went on the attack immediately and quickly scored the 16-1 technical fall for his 13th victory of the campaign. It was his fourth tech fall of the season and increased Duke's team lead to 17-6.
Wrestling in a Duke singlet for the first time in his career, sophomore Ben Anderson scored a solid 8-3 decision over Christian Trimble. Leading 4-3 after two periods, Anderson quickly escaped in then added a takedown for his first collegiate victory.
Holding a 20-6 advantage at the halfway point of the match, Zach Finesilver only extended to the Duke lead with a 13-2 major decision. In his first match since March of 2018, Zach built an early advantage en route to his 52nd career victory.
"[Zach] came back tonight and rushed a few things, but once he settled down he got into his rhythm and scored. I was happy to see that. He worked really hard this summer and it was really great to see him out there.
Duke didn't miss a beat over the next two bouts as Matt Finesilver registered an 11-1 major decision at 174 pounds and Kaden Russell added five more points to the team score with an 18-2 technical fall. The victory was the 10th of the year for Matt and the ninth for Russell.
Gardner-Webb picked up a decision at 197 before Duke's Araad Fisher closed out the match with an 8-2 victory. In his first match of the season and wrestling up a weight class, Fisher turned in a solid second period of riding to garner the win and send Duke into 2019 1-0.
The Blue Devils will prepare for exams and the winter break before returning to the mat Jan. 1-2 at the Southern Scuffle.
125 : Harrison Campbell (Duke) wins by forfeit - Duke 6, GWU 0
133: Brandon Bright (GWU) wins by forfeit - Duke 6, GWU 6
141: Josh Finesilver (Duke) fall Blake Mulkey, 4:49 - Duke 12, GWU 6
149: Mitch Finesilver (Duke) tech fall Austin Reames, 16-1, Duke 17, GWU 6
157: Ben Anderson (Duke) decision Christian Trimble, 8-3, Duke 20, GWU 6
165: Zach Finesilver (Duke) major dec. Evan Schenk (GWU), 13-2, Duke 24, GWU 6
174: No. 20 Matt Finesilver (Duke) major dec. Kyle Homet (GWU), 11-1, Duke 28, GWU 6
184: Kaden Russell (Duke) tech fall Chase Emory (GWU), 18-2, Duke 33, GWU 6
197: Anthony Perrine (GWU) dec. Louis Castellano (Duke), 5-2, Duke 33, GWU 9
HWT: Araad Fisher (Duke) dec. Jack Troutman III (GWU), 8-2, Duke 36, GWU 9