CLEVELAND -- Michigan State's wrestling team used six wins in the final seven bouts to knock off Cleveland State, 25-9, Sunday afternoon inside CSU's Woodling Gymnasium.
The Spartans used bonus-point wins by redshirt junior Alex Hrisopoulos and redshirt freshman Layne Malczewski en route to the victory. With the win, the Spartans improve to 8-9 overall and 6-2 in non-conference duals, while Cleveland State falls to 9-6 overall.
"The guys took care of business today," said Spartan wrestling head coach Roger Chandler. "That's a much improved Cleveland State team that what we saw last year. There is no doubt we left some points out there but I know our guys will adjust and be ready to go next week for our final dual of the year.
Redshirt senior Logan Griffin started the dual for the Spartans against Cleveland State's Logan Heil at 125 pounds. Griffin fought back from a 2-1 deficit after one to take a 4-2 lead after two periods with a takedown and two escapes. Heil started the third period with a takedown to tie the match at four and tallied a four-point near-fall on his way to a 9-4 win over Griffin. At 133 pounds, redshirt senior Garrett Pepple put the Spartans on the board with a decision over Justin Patrick. Pepple and Patrick wrestled a defensive first period, with Pepple taking a 1-0 advantage into the second period after and early escape point. After a scoreless second period for both, Pepple registered another escape to jump out to a 2-0 lead 15 seconds into the third period. Pepple fought off a couple late shots by Patrick to secure the 2-0 decision.
Redshirt junior Matt Santos took on Evan Cheek at 141 pounds. Cheek, who leads the team with 31 wins, recorded three early takedowns in the first frame to take a 6-2 lead over Santos after one. Cheek grabbed the only points in the second period with an escape to push his lead to 7-2 after two. Santos showed a late surge in the final frame, with an escape and takedown, but it wasn't enough as Cheek gave the Vikings a 6-3 lead with an 8-5 decision.
Hrisopoulos got some momentum going for the Spartans at 149 pounds after a 12-4 major decision over Sam Matsek. Hrisopoulos started early with a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead in the first and exploded with nine points in the second period after three takedowns and a reversal. Hrisopoulos rode out the third period in the top position to secure the 12-4 major decision to give the Spartans a 7-6 advantage in the dual.
The Spartans extended their lead to 10-6 after redshirt junior Jake Tucker came away with a 7-3 decision over CSU's Nico O'Dor. Tucker, who improved to 24-7 overall with the victory, led 2-1 after the first period after a takedown, and extended his lead to 5-1 with an escape and takedown in the second period. Tucker gave two escape points to O'Dor in the final period and fought for another takedown in the final seconds for the 7-3 win. Redshirt junior Drew Hughes returned to the lineup for the Spartans and went right to work against Riley Smucker. With an early takedown to begin the dual, Hughes took a 2-1 lead over Smucker after one. No score after two kept the score at 2-1 in favor of Hughes and he rode out the third in the top position on his way to a 3-1 decision with the riding time point.
Malczewski gave the Spartans a 19-6 lead with his second fall in as many matches. Malczewski rushed out to a quick 4-1 lead after one period with two takedowns . Malczewski didn't let up in the second, rolling to a 12-2 lead over Ford after a reversal, four mat points and a takedown on his way to a fall at 4:31. With the win, Malczewski improves to 21-11 on the season with five falls.
"I'm really happy with the mindset that Layne Malczewski is competing with right now," said Chandler. "He's looking to dominate matches and he is doing that because he expects that out of himself."
At 184 pounds, Cam Caffey reeled off his ninth-straight win on the season and the fifth in a row on the day for the Spartans with a narrow 6-5 decision over a scrappy DeAndre Nassar. Nassar struck early and gained the lead on Caffey through three minutes, but Caffey answered with a takedown and escape of his own in the second period to lead 4-3. Nassar tied it at four at the beginning of the third with an escape and Caffey countered with a late takedown to secure his 24th win of the season.
Redshirt junior Nick May dropped a nail-biter to CSU's Ben Smith at 197 pounds. The two wrestler traded takedowns in the first and second periods and were knotted at four just after the start of the third period after an escape by May. Smith took back the lead, 6-4, with a takedown and May followed with an escape and takedown to lead 7-6. A late locked hands call and escape by Smith gave him the 8-7 win. Redshirt junior Christian Rebottaro led 3-0 after one over Collin Kelly at 285 pounds on his way to a 9-2 decision.
"Good to see Christian Rebottaro get a validation win that he is improving," said Chandler. "He wrestled that same kid last year and won a close match in overtime. Today he came close to getting a major decision."
Michigan State wraps up its dual slate next Friday, Feb. 21 when they travel to Mount Pleasant to take on Central Michigan at 7 p.m.
125 - Logan Heil (CSU) dec.over Logan Griffin (MSU) - 10-4 | CSU leads, 3-0
133 - Garrett Pepple (MSU) dec. over Justin Patrick (CSU) - 2-0 | Tied, 3-3
141 - Evan Cheek (CSU) dec. over Matt Santos (MSU) - 8-5 | CSU leads, 6-3
149 - Alex Hrisopoulos (MSU) maj. dec. over Sam Matzek (CSU) - 12-4 | MSU leads, 7-6
157 - Jake Tucker (MSU) dec. over Nico O'Dor (CSU) - 8-3 | MSU leads, 10-6
165 - Drew Hughes (MSU) dec. over Riley Smucker (CSU) - 3-1 | MSU leads, 13-6
174 - Layne Malczewski (MSU) fall over Ryan Ford (CSU) - 4:32 | MSU leads, 19-6
184 - Cameron Caffey (MSU) dec. over DeAndre Nassar (CSU) - 6-5 | MSU leads, 22-6
197 - Ben Smith (CSU) dec. over Nick May (MSU) - 8-7 | MSU leads, 22-9
285 - Christian Rebottaro (MSU) dec. over Collin Kelly (CSU) - 9-2 | MSU wins, 25-9