"I was so excited," Bell said. "I thought the official was calling a potentially dangerous situation, but then I heard him smack the mat and I was so excited. We were scrambling and believe it or not we practice those situations and I was able to capitalize and get the pin."
Duke (1-2, 0-1 ACC) garnered wins from Bell at 141 pounds and Andrew Fulk at heavyweight. The victory for Fulk pushes the redshirt sophomore to 2-1 overall in dual matches, while Bell improves to 1-2. North Carolina currently leads the Battle of the Blues presented by Continental Tire 7-2.
"Overall I thought we fought really hard," head coach Clar Anderson said. "We got beat in a couple weight groups in 174 and 184 that I thought we might compete better in. Mike's win was fabulous. He's been working so hard and that showed and paid off."
After forfeiting the first two weight classes, Bell started the match for Duke at 141 pounds. Danny Lopes scored first, registering a two-point takedown with 41 seconds remaining in the first period. Starting the second stanza with an escape to make it 2-1, the duo traded shots and Bell nearly scored the takedown for the lead as Lopes did well to defend and maintain the slight 2-1 edge.
In the third period, Lopes started with an escape to make it a 3-1 match and forced Bell into scoring two points to force overtime. After a scramble in the center of the mat in the final minute of the match, the senior captain was able to turn Lopes and put him on his back to earn his second pin of the season and six points for the Blue Devils.
North Carolina (6-5, 1-1 ACC) proceeded to post three consecutive major decisions to go in front 24-6 before the 174-pound match.
Looking to regain some ground, redshirt freshman Bret Klopp went up against Thomas Ferguson at 174 pounds. Klopp battled hard, but Ferguson proved to be too much as the Lander, Wyo., native was unable to capitalize on his shots in a 9-4 decision.
It was a similar story for the Blue Devils at 184 pounds with redshirt sophomore Diego Bencomo. North Carolina's Antonio Giorgio scored the first points of the match in the second period with three near fall points before Bencomo came back to make it 3-2 with a reversal. In a flurry of action, Giorgio responded immediately with a reversal of his own to take a 5-3 lead after five minutes. Bencomo fought hard in the final period, but was unable to get the final two points as Giorgio emerged with a 7-5 decision.
After rookie Brian Self dropped his first dual match of the season at 197 pounds, Fulk put Duke back in the win column with a solid performance at heavyweight. Fulk scored a two-point takedown in the final 20 seconds of the first period for the narrow 2-0 lead. The native of Bradenton, Fla., continued to control the match and added three more crucial points in the second session. Fulk never relinquished and cruised to the 6-1 decision for his fifth win of the season and second dual match victory.
Duke returns to action on Jan. 21 at Gardner-Webb for a 7 p.m., match. The Blue Devils resume ACC competition on Jan. 27 at N.C. State.
North Carolina 33, Duke 9
125 - (UNC) Jacob Corrill wins by forfeit
133 - (UNC) Patrick Owens wins by forfeit
141 - (DU) Mike Bell pinned (UNC) Danny Lopes
149 - (UNC) Nick Stabile major dec. (DU) A.J. Guardado, 11-2
157 - (UNC) Corey Mock major dec. (DU) Ryan Harding, 19-5
165 - (UNC) Kyle Kiss major dec. (DU) Willy Mello, 15-3
174 - (UNC) Thomas Ferguson dec. (DU) Bret Klopp, 9-4
184 - (UNC) Antonio Giorgio dec. (DU) Diego Bencomo, 7-5
197 - (UNC) Zachary Bennett dec. (DU) Brian Self, 5-1
285 - (DU) Andrew Fulk ded. (UNC) Ben Brooks, 6-1