Pitt's Tyler Wilps reached the finals of the 174-pound weight class, but his bid to win a championship fell just short as he was defeated by Penn State's Matt Brown, 5-4 in controversial fashion.
After Wilps and Brown exchanged escape points, Brown scored a takedown and after an ensuing Wilps escape, Brown led 3-2. Wilps picked up a somewhat surprising takedown late and the Pitt star led 4-3 with only 20 seconds to go.
Wilps then hung on for dear life, but received a second stalling call late (which was key because he picked up an earlier one in the match), to tie things up. Then with three seconds to go and on top, Wilps was called for locking his hands with a single second left and Brown was given another point to win it.
Brown said it best afterwards when he was asked to describe the last 30 seconds - ugly.
Credit to Brown, too, he seemed just as disappointed as Wilps was that it ended that way. Wilps left with a smirk on his face and was clearly annoyed by the ending. And can you blame him? Two of Brown's points came on late penalties against Wilps when it looked like Pitt could have a national championship won.
I don't know. By the book, both late calls against Wilps were questionable but potentially correct. The stalling call was due to a new rule apparently where you cannot hold onto only one leg without trying to improve your position. But if you watch that sequence, on that call, Wilps seemed to me to be actively at least pursuing Brown, who of course was doing his best to get away. Really tricky call and for Wilps to lose a point there was tough to swallow. The locked hands call came down to if it came during regulation, which the announcers seemed to think they did. The replays seemed to indicate that as well and to be honest, I think Wilps had a bigger gripe with the stalling call.
Tough calls, tough way to end. To lose a match like that is terrible. To lose a championship like that as a senior with no chance for redemption? I can't even describe it.
If both calls were correct without a doubt, there's nothing else the officials can do to call it. Sad as it is, that's the way it goes. But when you get something that's somewhat ambiguous like the stalling call, that coupled with the locked hands doesn't seem like any way for a title match to end.
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