Pitt upsets NC State in Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The 16th-ranked University of Pittsburgh wrestling team upset No. 8 NC State at Reynolds Coliseum Sunday afternoon, 18-16.

With the win, Pitt improves to 11-3 overall and picks up its first ACC win of the year (1-2). NC State moves to 14-2 overall and 2-1 in conference action. The Wolfpack also suffer their first loss at home this year, finishing 9-1.

The win was the first over NC State since the two teams first met in 2014 and is the first for Pitt in Raleigh.

Three Panthers recorded impressive and clutch wins over ranked opponents. The first of the day was redshirt sophomore Gregg Harvey, who is unranked at 174 pounds, and defeated No. 20 Daniel Bullard in a 6-4 decision. Redshirt freshman Nino Bonaccorsi, ranked 13th at 184 pounds, upset No. 3 Nick Reenan in dominant fashion, 8-0, before redshirt junior Kellan Stout, who is unranked, had a vital win at 197 pounds, outlasting No. 20 Malik McDonald in a 5-4 decision.

"It was a great team win today," said head coach Keith Gavin. "Our guys wrestled with a lot of fight and passion. When you do that, things tend to go your way more often than not."

NC State got on the board first after freshman Brendon Fenton dropped a 13-6 decision to Zurich Storm at 125 pounds.

The Panthers took the lead after two bouts, thanks to a major decision by redshirt freshman Micky Phillippi at 133 pounds. The fifth-ranked wrestler put on a clinic, racking up 17 points and allowing five. With the win, Phillippi improves to 15-2 on the year.

Senior LJ Bentley then dropped a hard-fought match at 141 pounds as he forced overtime with NC State's Jamel Morris. Bentley fell behind in the first, 1-0, after being hit with stalling twice. In the second, Morris escaped off bottom to lead 2-0 entering the final frame. Bentley then escaped off bottom and was awarded a point after Morris pushed him out of bounds. Morris scored a takedown in sudden victory to win it, 4-2, and give the Wolfpack a 6-4 lead in the team race.

NC State built on its lead with a major decision at 149 pounds. Senior Robert Lee fell in a 15-7 major decision to No. 8 Justin Oliver, giving the Wolfpack a 10-4 lead.

Pitt fell behind 13-4 at the midway point after redshirt junior Taleb Rahmani dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 4 Hayden Hidlay.

NC State won what would be its final match at 165 pounds after Thomas Bullard defeated sophomore Tommy O'Brien in a 6-1 decision, bringing the team score to 16-4.

Harvey then stepped to the mat and was unshaken by No. 20 Daniel Bullard. The match was tied 3-3 entering the final frame as they started neutral. Harvey scored a takedown to lead 5-3 with 1:27 to go. Bullard quickly escaped, but was hit with hands in the face, bringing the score to 6-4 in favor of Harvey with one minute to go. He held off Bullard in the final minute en route to the win, chipping away at the team score, 16-7.

Bonaccorsi picked up his third win of the weekend at 184 pounds and pulled off the biggest upset of his career thus far. The 13th-ranked Panther shutout No. 3 Nick Reenan, 8-0, cutting NC State's lead to 16-11.

Stout used Bonaccorsi's momentum to record his first win over a ranked opponent this year in No. 20 Malik McDonald at 197 pounds. McDonald struck first in the opening period for the 2-0 lead. The two started the second in neutral and neither were able to score. Stout started the third on bottom, escaped and was awarded a penalty point as McDonald hit him in the face to tie it 2-2. McDonald then scored a takedown, but Stout quickly escaped. Stout scored a takedown to seal the deal late in the third en route to the 5-4 win and setting up the team score to 16-14 entering the final bout.

Once again, the dual came down to the final bout as the Panthers just needed to win by a decision to upset the Wolfpack. However, No. 14 Demetrius Thomas dominated Deonte Wilson in a 17-5 major decision at heavyweight. Thomas scored eight takedowns to lift Pitt to victory, 18-16.

Pitt returns to the Fitzgerald Field House Friday, Feb. 15 to host Duke for Senior and Alumni Night at 7 p.m.

125: Zurich Storm (NCST) dec. Brendon Fenton (UP), 13-6 - NC State leads 3-0
133: #5 Micky Phillippi (UP) maj. dec. John Devine (NCST), 17-5 - Pitt leads 4-3
141: Jamel Morris (NCST) def. LJ Bentley (UP), SV-1, 4-2 - NC State leads 6-4
149: #8 Justin Oliver (NCST) maj. dec. Robert Lee (UP), 15-7 - NC State Leads 10-4
157: #4 Hayden Hidlay (NCST) dec. #11 Taleb Rahmani (UP), 3-2 - NC State leads 13-4
165: Thomas Bullard (NCST) dec. Tommy O'Brien (UP), 6-1 - NC State leads 16-4
174: Gregg Harvey (UP) dec. #20 Daniel Bullard (NCST), 6-4 - NC State leads 16-7
184: #13 Nino Bonaccorsi (UP) maj. dec. #3 Nick Reenan (NCST), 8-0 - NC State leads 16-11
197: Kellan Stout (UP) dec. #20 Malik McDonald (NCST), 5-4 - NC State leads 16-14
285: #14 Demetrius Thomas (UP) maj. dec. Deonte Wilson (NCST), 17-5 - Pitt wins 18-16


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