MU wrestlers knock off #1 Oklahoma State

Brian Smith's ninth-ranked Tigers scored a major upset by beating the #1-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in wrestling in St. Louis.

St. Louis, Mo. - Breaking a 29 dual losing streak, the ninth-ranked Missouri Tigers took on the No. 1 Oklahoma State Cowboys and won 21 to 17. The win by Mizzou was their first of the season while handing OSU their first loss in 24 matches, a streak that extends back to the 2001-02 season, when the Cowboys fell to Iowa State at the National Duals.

Missouri scored two falls on the night as senior J.P. Reese (141) moved one notch closer to the MU record for pins in a fall over OSU's Ronnie Delk in 3:24. Reese stands third in Mizzou's history books with 33 career pins, just eight shy of the career-record set by recent graduate Kevin Herron (41) 2002-03.

Also scoring a fall was Matt Pell, the 184-pound redshirt freshman out of Luxemburg, Wis. Winning the first matchup of his collegiate career with a fall in 2:05, Pell defeated OSU's Bret Munson.

Other wins on the evening came by senior NCAA qualifier Kenny Burleson at 157 pounds. The Neosho, Mo., native was able to keep the Tigers on top with a 5-3 decision over Kevin Ward. His win helped clinch the team title for Missouri.

"I knew from the get go that the final team win would come down to the final two matches," Burleson said. "In the end, I don't think it came just down to me. Every one of our guys went out there and wrestled their hearts out."

Taking his match to the final second was redshirt freshman Austin DeVoe (125). Devoe went for a two-point takedown to defeat Cody Stites of OSU 3-2. Entering the third period with a 0-0 score, Cody Stites of OSU scored the first points of the match with an early escape. DeVoe, a Columbus, Kan., native, scored an escape for one point and the final takedown for two points at the sound of the buzzer.

Making his first start at 197-pounds, sophomore Jeff Foust of Blue Springs, Mo., faced off against the Cowboy's Rusty Blackmon defeating him in a 3-1 decision.

Heading into overtime in the first match of the night, No. 2 in the nation, Chris Pendleton of Oklahoma State defeated No. 9 Ben Askren of Missouri. In an intense matchup, Askren scored seven points in the first two periods, with Pendleton making a strong comeback in the third. In the end, Pendleton won the match with a takedown in the final seconds of overtime.

Used to wrestling at 197 pounds, junior Clint Freeman of Kanopolis, Kan., filled the Tigers opening at heavyweight, wrestling the Cowboys Willie Gruenwald. The weight difference proved too much for Freeman who lost in a 15-7 major decision.

In yet another close match, junior transfer Paul Collum of Missouri fell to the No. 2 wrestler in the nation Johnny Thompson of OSU. With a final score of 5-4, OSU moved within two points of the Tigers, 12-10.

Suffering a disappointing loss was senior two-time NCAA qualifier Jeremy Spates at 149 pounds. With a final score of 12-4, the Cowboy's Zack Esposito won in a major decision, with a final point given for riding time.

In the final matchup of the evening, 2003 All-American Tyron Woodley and OSU's All-American Tyrone Lewis went head-to-head. Lewis came out on top, with the 11-5 major decision, but was unable to pull the Cowboys out of their team slump.

"I'm really happy for our wrestlers," head coach Brian Smith said. "We wrestled a good team tonight and I'm pleased with the win. This was just one win in a long season. And, while I'm happy, I know we need to go back to the practice room and stay strong."

The Tigers will head home to Columbia to host the Missouri Open on Sunday, Nov. 23. The matches will begin at 9 a.m. with doors opening at 8 a.m.

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