Mike Evans rides stingy style into NCAA semifinals
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Mike Evans' wrestling style is more stingy than scintillating.
But Iowa's grind-it-out 174-pounder has won 107 career matches along the way. Four of those have come against Minnesota's Logan Storley, none more important than his 2-1 victory Friday morning at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Scottrade Center.
Evans moved into the NCAA semifinals by delivering a 30-second ride-out of Storley in overtime — ending with a 4-3 mark against a four-year Big Ten Conference rival.
"We both hate each other. So there's a little bit of that," said Evans, who has won four in a row over Storley, all in extra time.
"He has good counter-offense, I have good counter-offense. He's good at exploding, so am I. So it's kind of touch and go. You have to pick and choose your battles a little bit. Wear the guy down with your hands and your pressure."
Evans has a 30-2 mark this season, the best winning percentage on the team. His only losses are to Penn State's Matt Brown, who happened to be his opponent in Friday night's semifinals. With the top side of the bracket in upheaval — top-seeded Robert Kokesh of Nebraska lost, and the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds are in the consolation as well — the Brown-Evans winner would have a great shot at a national title.
Evans, though, said he felt "lonely" in the championship bracket because none of Iowa's other four senior starters won their first-round matches. He's carried the flag for the seniors, a group that came to Iowa as the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2010.
By the end of Friday's third session, only Evans and heavyweight Bobby Telford were still alive. Josh Dziewa was eliminated Friday, and Michael Kelly and Nick Moore didn't even make it to Friday.
"I was a little lonely. But you see guys like Bobby Telford go out and get a pin (in the consolations), you know their heart's still in the right place," Evans said. "I've got no worries about Hawkeyes on the backside.
"Maybe shame on them a little bit. But at the same time, you're going to take blows like that at this tournament."
Hawkeye sophomores Thomas Gilman (125) and Cory Clark (133) guaranteed all-America status by joining Evans in the semifinal round.
Gilman delivered a stunning rally to upend third-seeded Joey Dance of Virginia Tech, 7-5 in overtime.
Gilman got behind 5-1 in the second period and trailed 5-3 — and Dance had riding time — in the closing seconds. But Gilman scored a takedown and kept Dance down to erase riding time force an eighth minute.
"He's good," Gilman said of Dance, who beat him in the Midlands finals in sudden victory. "He took it out of me for 30 seconds, but the rest of the match, I took it out of him."
Gilman said he could hear Dance let out a guttural sound when he scored the tying takedown, at which point he knew he was in control.
"Kind of like when you kill a deer or something, its last breath," Gilman said.
In the one-minute, first-score-wins period, Gilman slammed Dance to the mad with a body lock.
Gilman was set to face West Virginia's unseeded Zeke Moisey (30-13), who has made an upset-filled run in St. Louis, for the first time.
His workout partner, Clark, was to face an old nemesis after he beat Iowa State's sixth-seeded Earl Hall, 8-1 — Penn State's James Gulibon. Clark is 0-3 all-time vs. Gulibon — losing twice in high school all-star meets and earlier this season, 8-5, when Clark took an ill-advised shot in the final 20 seconds while leading.
"How I shut down a little bit in that last match (after building a 5-0 first-period lead vs. Hall) is how Gulibon caught me off guard at the end," Clark said. "Just build and keep building. Don't worry about what the score is and wrestle whether I'm ahead by three or ahead by 10 or down by three or down by 10, wrestle the same way."
Telford, Brandon Sorensen (149), Sammy Brooks (184) and Nathan Burak (197) remained alive in the consolation bracket for Friday night's round of 12. One win guarantees each all-America status (top eight).
IOWA'S FRIDAY QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
125 - #6 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) dec. #3 Joey Dance (VT), 7-5 SV1
133 - #3 Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. #6 Earl Hall (ISU), 7-1
174 - #3 Mike Evans (Iowa) dec. #6 Logan Storley (MINN), 2-1 TB1
184 - #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) dec. #9 Sammy Brooks (Iowa), 3-2
197 - #3 Kyven Gadson (ISU) major dec. #6 Nathan Burak (Iowa), 12-2
IOWA'S FRIDAY CONSOLATION RESULTS
141 - #5 Josh Dziewa (Iowa) major dec. #6 Nick Dardanes (MINN), 18-4
141 - #3 Lavion Mayes (MIZZ) dec. #5 Josh Dziewa (Iowa), 9-3
149 - #4 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. Clayton Ream (NDSU), 5-0
149 - #4 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) dec. #6 Alec Pantaleo (MICH), 3-1 SV1
285 - #3 Bobby Telford (Iowa) pinned #13 Tyler Deuel (BING), 1:46
285 - #3 Bobby Telford (Iowa) dec. Collin Jensen (NEB), 9-2
FRIDAY NIGHT'S SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS
125 - #6 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) vs. Zeke Moisey (WVU)
133 - #3 Cory Clark (Iowa) vs. #7 James Gulibon (PSU)
174 - #3 Mike Evans (Iowa) vs. #2 Matt Brown (PSU)
FRIDAY NIGHT'S CONSOLATION MATCHUPS
149 - #4 Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) vs. #7 Sal Mastriani (VT)
184 - #9 Sammy Brooks (Iowa) vs. #3 Blake Stauffer (ASU)
197 - #6 Nathan Burak (Iowa) vs. Canaan Bethea (PENN)
285 - #3 Bobby Telford (Iowa) vs. #7 Blaize Cabell (UNI)