Lions Rally but Fall to Minnesota

The second-ranked Gophers scored enough bonus points to leave Rec Hall with a narrow win Sunday.

A season-high crowd of 6,540 nearly lifted Penn State to victory Sunday at Rec Hall. Instead, the No. 5 Lions fell, 17-16 to visiting and No. 2 Minnesota in a Big Ten affair.

Penn State picked up wins in five bouts, but lost by surrendering bonus points (both major decisions) at 141 and 157 pounds. The Lions only bonus points came in the dual’s final match, as Jordan Conaway won 13-3 over Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak at 125, but the Penn State grappler needed a technical fall or pin to give the Lions a chance to win.

“It’s just those close matches,” head coach Cael Sanderson said. “We’ve got to win those close matches.

“I thought we had a chance to win a couple of those, obviously. We ended up giving up two majors, obviously. That was the difference.”

Indeed it was. Minnesota's Nick Dardanes beat Penn State's Kade Moss 14-6 at 141. After Zack Beitz beat the Gophers’ Jake Short 9-4 at 149, the Lions’ Cody Law fell 9-1 to Minnesota's Dylan Ness. Law wrestled in place of Dylan Alton, who was hurt in last weekend's dual with Purdue. Sanderson said that, had Sunday's match been the Big Ten Tournament, Alton could have wrestled.

“He was hurting, and it’s something that, if it’s the Big Ten tournament yeah, he’s wrestling today,” Sanderson said, “but since it’s not, we’re going to give him some time to recover.”

The Lions’ biggest win of the day came at 197 pounds, as No. 6 Morgan McIntosh (shown above) beat Minnesota's No. 1 Scott Schiller by a 7-4 final to shrink the dual deficit to 17-9. Heavyweight Jimmy Lawson than turned in a workman-like 3-1 decision to give Conaway a chance. But the junior could not turn Lizak, an Allentown, Pa., native wrestling in his first college match, to his back to secure a technical fall or pin.

“I thought it was pretty impressive,” Penn State 174-pounder Matt Brown said of McIntosh's win. “I was very impressed. I loved that.

“I think it just proves to him that he is the best in the country.”

Penn State returns to action Friday night when it takes on Michigan at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.

No. 2 Minnesota 17
No. 5 Penn State 16

133: No. 1 Chris Dardanes, UM, dec. No. 9 Jimmy Gulibon, 3-2.

141: No. 4 Nick Dardanes, UM, maj. dec. Kade Moss, 14-6.

149: No. 18 Zack Beitz, PSU, dec. Jake Short, 9-4.

157: No. 1. Dylan Ness, UM, maj. dec. Cody Law, 9-1.

165: No. 17 Nick Wanzek, UM, dec. Garett Hammond, 8-4.

174: No. 4 Matt Brown, PSU, dec. No. 3 Logan Storley, 4-1.

184: No. 11 Brett Pfarr, UM, dec. No. 16 Matt McCutcheon, 11-5.

197: No. 6 Morgan McIntosh, PSU, dec. No. 1 Scott Schiller, 7-4.

285: No. 6 Jimmy Lawson, PSU, dec. No. 13 Michael Kroells, 3-1.

125: No. 8 Jordan Conaway, PSU, maj. dec. Ethan Lizak, 13-3.

Ridge Riley Award winner: Matt Brown, 174 pounds.

Attendance: 6,540.

Takedowns: Minnesota 16; Penn State 14.

Records: Minnesota 10-0, 6-0 Big Ten; Penn State 8-2, 4-2.

Next match: Iowa at Minnesota, 7 p.m. Friday; Penn State at Michigan, 7 p.m. Friday.

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