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Thomas lifts Pitt to victory over Duke

PITTSBURGH -- For the second consecutive dual, junior Demetrius Thomas lifted the 15th-ranked Pitt wrestling team to victory, this time over the Duke Blue Devils, 20-19.

With the win, the Panthers improve to 12-3 on the year and pick up their second ACC win (2-2). The Blue Devils drop to 2-8 overall and 0-4 against conference foes.

The matches were split down the middle, five wins for each team, bringing the team score to 19-15 in favor of Duke entering the final bout. At heavyweight, Thomas came up clutch again, contributing the bonus points needed to lift the Panthers to victory.

"[Demetrius] has been clutch for us pretty much all year," said head coach Keith Gavin. "It is pretty hard to get a technical fall like he did tonight. All the guy had to do Is not get a tech fall. That was tough for him to do, and he is a really good competitor. I am really proud of him."

The Panthers jumped out to a hefty 9-0 lead thanks to a 6-3 decision by freshman Brendon Fenton at 125 pounds over Arien Leigh. Redshirt freshman Micky Phillippi then contributed six team points after Duke forfeited 133 pounds.

The Blue Devils collected wins at 141 and 149 pounds to tie the team score, 9-9.

However, redshirt junior Taleb Rahmani turned in a 14-7 decision over Benjamin Anderson at 157 pounds to give Pitt a 12-9 entering the break.

Duke earned two more wins at 165 and 174 pounds to take the lead, 16-12.

Redshirt junior Nino Bonaccorsi then cut the Blue Devils' lead to 16-15 after winning in a 10-4 decision over Kaden Russell at 184 pounds.

Duke captured its final win of the night at 197 pounds as redshirt junior Kellan Stout dropped a 4-2 decision to Alec Schenk, jumping to a 19-15 lead.

The dual, once again, came down to heavyweight and Thomas was up to the challenge. Thomas scored six takedown in the first period to lead 10-5 after the first three minutes. He continued to rack up the points en route to a 22-6 technical fall in 4:24, lifting the Panthers to victory.

Pitt concludes the regular season Friday, Feb. 22 at Virginia at 7 p.m. in Charlottesville, Va.

Results:
125: Brendon Fenton (UP) dec. Arien Leigh (Duke), 6-3 - Pitt leads 3-0
133: Micky Phillippi wins by forfeit - Pitt leads 9-0
141: Josh Finesilver (Duke) dec. LJ Bentley (UP), 9-7 - Pitt leads 9-3
149: Eric Carter (Duke) def. Robert Lee (UP), MF -- Tied 9-9
157: #11 Taleb Rahmani (UP) dec. Benjamin Anderson (Duke), 14-7 - Pitt leads 12-9
165: Zach Finesilver (Duke) maj. dec. Tommy O'Brien (UP), 14-5 - Duke leads 13-12
174: #16 Matt Finesilver (Duke) def. Gregg Harvey (UP), SV-1, 4-2 - Duke leads 16-12
184: #10 Nino Bonaccorsi (UP) dec. Kaden Russell (Duke), 10-4 - Duke leads 16-15
197: Alec Schenk (Duke) dec. #20 Kellan Stout (UP), 4-2 - Duke leads 19-15
285: #16 Demetrius Thomas (UP) tech. fall Araad Fisher (Duke), 22-6, 4:24 - Pitt wins 20-19

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