No. 10 Pitt wrestling was expected to have an easy time of things against Davidson in a Sunday dual. But things probably went even better than hoped as the Panthers won 51 to -1.
The Panthers move to 9-3 while Davidson falls to 3-10.
That begs the question — how can a team have negative points? Well, the Panthers won every bout and Davidson was docked a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct in the 133 bout, technically creating the negative point.
At 125 pounds, Louis Newell had little trouble with a quick takedown, two near fall points, and then riding his opponent out for the rest of the period. That was just the beginning as he would cruise to an easy 16-1 technical fall to give the Panthers a 5-0 lead.
No. 6 Micky Phillippi didn’t have things quite as easy at 133 pounds. But he got two late takedowns as time was expiring at the end of the first two periods to go up 5-0 on his way to a 9-1 major giving the Panthers a 9-0 lead.
As mentioned, the unsportsmanlike call came in this bout. I wasn’t too surprised to see it, though things weren’t completely out of hand. The Davidson wrestler, Kyle Gorant, was a little frustrated with how things went. It seemed to start in the third period after Phillippi scored a takedown and then cut Gorant free in an effort to score more takedowns. Phillippi sort of gave him a little shove (which is typically what you see in that situation as the wrestler freeing trying to separate himself a bit). Gorant didn’t take too kindly to that and was really physical after that. Then as time expired in the third period, Gorant sort of made a late escape attempt and then gave Phillippi a bit of a shove to the face.
The penalty point was warranted and I think anyone that saw it would probably agree. What I’m really surprised about is that, in such a physical sport, you don’t see more of that. Wrestlers are, for the most part, very composed, all things considered. Not pushovers, just under control. That’s especially true when you compare it to a sport like football that’s also physical but brings out a lot more unsportsmanlike penalties. Maybe it’s the threat of losing a team point, such as was the case here. But I’ve always been surprised that wrestlers really keep their emotions in check when you consider how physical the sport is.
Cole Matthews, as expected, checked in at 141 pounds for Pitt and he had an even easier time than Newell and Phillippi, scoring a first period pin to put the Panthers up 15-0.
At 149 we saw Dallas Bulsak for the second straight dual. Bulsak suffered a tough 1-0 loss on Friday in the Virginia dual but got back in the win column today with a 6-2 win. That pushed Pitt’s lead to 18-0.
Pitt threw out a backup at 157 pounds with Hunter Kernan going in start of Taleb Rahmani but that doesn’t mean fans should have expected a letdown there. Kernan not only won but scored a pinfall, increasing the team lead to 24-0.
After a forfeit win at 165 pounds that gave Jake Wentzel the day off, Pitt went up 30-0. At 174 pounds, the Panthers went with another backup in Curtis Decker. Decker was in a really tough bout but got a reversal at the end of the second period to take a 4-1 lead. He’d hold on for a 6-4 win to extend the lead to 33-0.
No. 6 Nino Bonaccorsi stepped in at 184 pounds and if you blinked, you might have missed it. Bonaccorsi scored an early takedown, near fall points, and then a quick pin as the Panthers went up 39-0.
After another Davidson forfeit at 197, the Panthers went up 45-0. Pitt went with another backup at heavyweight as Cole Rickert got the start in place of Demetrius Thomas. Again, Pitt’s backups did more than you might expect as, despite a pretty close bout, Rickert scored a third period pin to give the Panthers a 51-0 win.
Just a dominant performance and while it was aided by a couple of forfeits, the Panthers also rested several of their starters. You don’t see too many 50-point wins in college wrestling and Pitt actually has two of them this season.
Next up is a big match at No. 8 North Carolina on Friday. Then, the following weekend, Pitt has another really big one with No. 7 Virginia Tech.