MINNEAPOLIS – In a No. 1 vs. No. 2 wrestling dual expected to be decided by razor-thin margins, Iowa's Nick Moore and Mike Evans delivered their own 1-2 punch Friday night.
After a draw started things at 165 pounds before 13,603 ready-to-rumble fans at Williams Arena, Moore flattened Brandon Kingsley for a second-period pin.
Sudden momentum, Iowa. Heated dual win (eventually), Iowa: 23-12.
The next man up, Evans at 174, was appreciative of Moore's quick work.
"Yeah, you feel it for sure. Definitely in a hostile environment," Evans said, the WWE-style belt signifying the Iowa-Minnesota winner draped over his shoulder in the post-match news conference. "You get a guy who goes out and puts six on the board, it shuts 'em up real quick. Then I don't have to listen to those fans so much. It's really nice."
The Hawkeye 174-pounder beat Logan Storley, 3-1.
Ninth-ranked Moore gave up the first takedown and trailed 2-1 when unranked Kingsley "kind of fell in my lap," Moore said. "He got a dose of some heavy hips. And then it just felt good when I locked it up."
Evans was next. He gave Iowa a 9-0 lead against nemesis Logan Storley with a 3-1 triumph in sudden-victory — even if Minnesota coach J Robinson didn't agree with the winning takedown call.
"If you look at the tape, it's a continual movement," Robinson said. "If he would've taken him down and he would've planted him and he would've stopped … but there wasn't a stop.
"I don't think it was two."
An official review sided with Evans (19-0) on the winning overtime move, on which he got in on a double-leg shot and threw Storley to the mat. Storley scrambled and instantly had Evans on his back, but it was too late. In sudden victory, first score wins.
"With the rules that got implemented over the past two years, you get put down, it's two," said Evans, who has won two in a row over Storley, both in overtime, after losing their first three meetings. "That's it. Especially in overtime. … I heard the whistle."
The Robinson-requested draw landing at 165 seemed to give Minnesota the ultimate edge, with top-ranked Dylan Ness as the anchor man at 157. But after Sammy Brooks and Bobby Telford won decisions and Thomas Gilman sprang out of the intermission with an emphatic technical fall, Iowa's lead was 20-3.
It wasn't the close dual most expected. Brandon Sorensen's 4-0 win at 149 made sure Iowa (11-0 overall) secured the inside track to the Big Ten Conference regular season championship at 6-0 in league duals before Ness took the mat.
"We came here to wrestle," Robinson said, "and some of our guys didn't wrestle tonight."
Even in their losses, the Hawkeyes were close.
The Iowa 157-pounder spoke after losing to Minnesota's Dylan Ness, 11-9.
At 197, Nathan Burak lost for the first time gave up a takedown with 1 second left to lose 3-1 to Scott Schiller. At 133, Cory Clark fought hard but fell 5-3 to top-ranked Chris Dardanes. At 141, Josh Dziewa started strong but lost 7-3 to Nick Dardanes. And in the Ness match, Iowa's Michael Kelly had the top-ranked wrestler on the ropes before falling 11-9.
A convincing win? With Iowa coach Tom Brands being Tom Brands, the losses stuck out.
"I feel like we had a guy at the end to really put an emphasis on it," Brands said. "And that's what on my mind right now."
The Hawkeye coach talks Michael Kelly, Nick Moore, Cory Clark and more.