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Huge comeback spurs Wrestling to 20-12 win over EMU

It’s UB’s first three-win MAC season in 16 years.

In the first match following their turn for the typical conference disrespect — 8th of 9, really? — UB Wrestling welcomed Eastern Michigan into Alumni Arena tonight looking to avenge a sluggish post-Thanksgiving 30-3 loss last year.

The Bulls once again came out sluggish for in their first match of the weekend, but turned the tide in the second half for a huge comeback victory, 20-12 over the Eagles.

Starting a 141, Jason Estevez couldn’t avenge a major decision against from last year, getting as close as 4-3, but never really in it in a 9-4 defeat. Colt Cotten looked nothing but sluggish at 149, barely avoiding a major, 9-3.

Alex Smythe was the first to show any energy, matching EMU’s Carson evenly until the final minute, when he couldn’t finish a pair of near-takedowns while giving up one himself. Muhamed McBryde two matches later took a 3-0 lead into the third, and somewhat surprisingly rode his guy out for a 5-0 win to finally get the Bulls on the board.

Brett Perry worked hard to earn an escape in the second period, then again to eliminate the riding time point early in the third, then pulled a massive reversal at the last gasp of TB-2 to give UB a huge breath of life. In one of the most Jeckyll-and-Hyde showings I’ve ever seen, in any sort, Perry was the turning point.

James Benjamin looked solid, if not spectacular, at 197, defending his ranking to win win 4-2. Jake Gunning has struggled this year to step forward from last year’s form, and against #17 Gage Hutchison, who got an at-large berth to the NCAAs last year while Jake was snubbed, he found his best wrestling, cradling Hutchison in the second for some bigtime points bringing UB all the way back to 12-12.

Kyle Akins earned his back points earlier than Gunning on the way to a 6-1 win of his own. The fifth straight win for UB, it put the Bulls in the driver’s seat for Bryan Lantry at 133. Lantry closed it out in style, ALSO earning first period back points and closing out a dominant 19-3 tech fall to ice the 20-12 win.

After the slow start, takedowns were in short supply, and nearly every individual match the first determined the winner. Lantry’s clinching match was even more critical, as it looked deep into the match like a 15-15 tie would be decided by total takedowns on the night.

The win sends UB to 3-2 in the MAC on the season. It’s the first time since 2000-01 that the Bulls have found three conference wins in a single season. The Bulls are in action Sunday against CMU, though Stutzman’s postgame comments suggested a number of the usual starters would sit.

141: Springer (EMU) dec. Jason Estevez, 9-4
149: Barber (EMU) dec. Colt Cotten, 9-3
157: Carson (EMU) dec. Alex Smythe, 3-2
165: Marry (EMU) dec. Tyler Rill, 8-4
174: Muhamed McBryde dec. Davis (EMU), 5-0
184: Brett Perry TB-2 Maccallum (EMU), 3-2
197: #20 James Benjamin dec. Hillman (EMU), 4-2
HVY: Jake Gunning dec. #17 Hutchison (EMU), 7-2
125: Kyle Akins dec. #17 Gonser (EMU), 6-1
133: #16 Bryan Lantry tech. Perry, 19-3