Feb. 4, 2011
WATCH: Match Highlights
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: No. 17 Northwestern 32, No. 24 Purdue 6
Records: NU (16-2, 4-2 Big Ten), Purdue (5-7-1, 0-4 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Friday, Feb. 11 vs. Wisconsin -- Evanston -- 7 p.m. CT
Play-by-Play Scoring: NWCA Live Score Book
EVANSTON, Ill. -- A match that on paper seemed it might hinge on the outcome of a single bout turned into a rout for No. 17 Northwestern, as the Wildcats notched two pins and picked up a victory over a top-10 wrestler in a 32-6 thrashing of No. 24 Purdue Friday in Evanston.
With a dominant showing at the lower weights having wrapped up the dual victory, senior Aaron Jones added to the success of the evening by coasting to a 6-1 upset of No. 7 A.J. Kissel at 184 pounds.
With the victory, NU (16-2) upped its record in the Big Ten to 4-2, its best showing in a conference dual season since 2006.
"At this stage of the year everything is about building for Big Tens and eventually the NCAA Championships," said head coach Drew Pariano. "A win like (Jones') immediately puts you in a spot where you are a viable NCAA qualifier. Seven minutes of your life can put you in that position and he did that tonight. Overall we wrestled hard and we were definitely the aggressors in just about every match, that's the style we preach every day in practice."
At 125 pounds, Northwestern's third-ranked Brandon Precin gave NU an early advantage when he improved to 26-1 on the year with his victory over Purdue's Camden Eppert. Precin scored one takedown each in the first and second periods to take a 5-0 lead into the third. Eppert spent the entire final period fighting off Precin's attempts at back points, but Precin finally got his tilt in the final seconds to win by 11-0 major decision.
Although the two competitors at 133 pounds had never before faced one another, the career resumes of NU's Levi Mele and Purdue senior Akif Eren suggested their first meeting would be a dogfight. And it was early on, with neither Mele nor Eren able to gain control in the first two minutes. But Mele picked up a takedown with 30 seconds to go in the first and almost immediately stuck Eren to the mat, picking up his fifth pin of the year at 2:44 to give the Wildcats a 10-0 lead.
"Akif has had a lot of good career wins and some great career wins over Northwestern wrestlers in the past, so for Levi to go out and win the way he did was huge," Pariano said.
It wasn't long before Northwestern true freshman Kaleb Friedley made it back-to-back pins for the `Cats, needing only 1:33 to pick up his 11th fall of the season and give NU a commanding 16-0 lead. Friedley is now 21-6 in his rookie campaign.
With the lead in hand, Northwestern aimed to add to its advantage with two ranked wrestlers taking the mat at 149 and 157 pounds, beginning with Andrew Nadhir against Purdue's Sam Patacsil. Nadhir totaled five takedowns and tacked on back points in the third period on his way to his 25th victory of the season.
That led into No. 10 Jason Welch's match at 157 against Colton Salazar, who has been ranked for much of the season. Welch picked up a quick two in the first period, deflating Salazar's early energy, and he needed only an escape plus his riding time point to hold on for the 4-1 win.
Following the intermission, sophomore Kevin Bialka found himself in a tight match against redshirt freshman Kyle Mosier, who scored the first takedown before Bialka came up with a reversal. Two more reversals, one by each wrestler, set the score at 4-4 entering the second, where Bialka did well to ride out the period and secure a riding time advantage.
Bialka started the second on the bottom and managed to escape 20 seconds into the period to take a 5-4 lead on the scoreboard. With Bialka's riding time erased, that left Mosier searching for a takedown to win the match. Bialka did elude one takedown on the edge of the mat and staved off Mosier's last-second attempts to protect his one-point lead and virtually assure NU of the dual victory.
That brought up the heart of Purdue's lineup beginning with No. 8 Luke Manuel at 174 pounds, facing NU sophomore Brian Roddy, Jr.. Manuel used two takedowns and an escape to build a 5-2 lead entering the third period. With riding time not a factor, Roddy spent the third looking for a chance to shoot cleanly, but a final takedown with 30 seconds remaining assured the Boilers of their first win of the evening.
Purdue sent eighth-ranked A.J. Kissel -- who boasted a 19-3 record -- to the mat at 184 looking for a second straight victory but NU senior Aaron Jones came out with other ideas. Jones began the period by staving off several solid shot attempts by Kissel and finished it by scoring an impressive single-leg lift and takedown with just two seconds to go before the buzzer. His hand control in the second continued to stymie Kissel, and he replicated his takedown two minutes later, just prior to the second-period whistle, as he brought a 4-1 lead into the third.
Jones fought for his one-point escape at the outset of the third and continued to just wear down the highly ranked Kissel, earning a penalty point to go up 6-1. Jones avoided one late scare where he was on his back for a brief moment, but held on for the decision upset.
"Aaron has come so far in his career; when he got to Northwestern we weren't sure he could put on two wrestling shoes and now he's beating the No. 7 guy in the country," Pariano said. "(Our strategy) was to control every position, and I yelled that several times during the match. I think (Kissell) touched our leg twice and we got a little nervous but Aaron reacted perfectly each time."
NU's John Schoen took the mat at 197 looking for another upset, this time against No. 9 Logan Brown of Purdue. Although Brown was never able to take full control of the match, he proved too tough to score on as he held on by an 8-1 score with two-plus minutes of riding time to his credit.
Finally at heavyweight, a pair of evenly matched juniors squared off in NU's Ben Kuhar and the Boilermakers' Roger Vukobratovich. After a scoreless first, Kuhar managed to earn his one-point escape 1:30 into the period, by which time Vukobratovich had his riding time secured. The Boilermaker essentially took a 2-1 lead with a quick escape in the third, but Kuhar came up with a huge takedown out of a bear hug at the 1:30 mark, erasing Vukobratovich's riding time along the way.
Kuhar surrendered only an escape down the stretch to protect a 3-2 victory, notching his second Big Ten victory of the season and pulling his overall record level at 12-12 on the year.
Northwestern's three-match homestand continues on Friday, Feb. 11, when it hosts rival Wisconsin at 7 p.m. on Senior Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
No. 17 Northwestern 32, No. 24 Purdue 6
125: #3 Brandon Precin (NU) maj. dec. Camden Eppert (PU), 11-0 (NU 4, PU 0)
133: Levi Mele (NU) FALL Akif Eren (PU), 2:44 (NU 10, PU 0)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) FALL Jake Fleckenstein (PU), 1:33 (NU 16, PU 0)
149: #13 Andrew Nadhir (NU) maj. dec. Sam Patacsil (PU), 15-4 (NU 20, PU 0)
157: #10 Jason Welch (NU) dec. Colton Salazar (PU), 4-1 (NU 23, PU 0)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) dec. Kyle Mosier (PU), 5-4 (NU 26, PU 0)
174: Luke Manuel (PU) dec. Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU), 7-3 (NU 26, PU 3)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) dec. #7 A.J. Kissel (PU), 6-1 (NU 29, PU 3)
197: #9 Logan Brown (PU) dec. John Schoen (NU), 8-1 (NU 29, PU 6)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) dec. Roger Vukobratovich (PU), 3-2 (NU 32, PU 6)
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