Duke (1-3-1, 0-2 ACC) was forced to forfeit both the 125 and 133 weight classes, putting NC State (8-5, 1-1 ACC) ahead 12-0 before the first match was wrestled at 141 pounds. The Blue Devils picked up wins at 165, 174, 184 and 197 pounds.
"Overall I was very pleased with all of our wrestlers tonight," head coach Clar Anderson said. "They fought hard and fought really well tonight. We can definitely build on this performance for the future."
In a rematch from the Wolfpack Open, Duke senior Mike Bell and NC State's Darrius Little squared off at 141 pounds. Bell gained the early advantage with a takedown, but Little responded with an escape to make it a 2-1 match after one minute. Little scored a takedown of his own in the final minute of the period for a 3-2 advantage after one session. The Wolfpack's redshirt junior started the second period with an escape to make it 4-2 and continued to control the match en route to an 8-2 decision.
Duke senior A.J. Guardado came up against top-ranked Darrion Caldwell at 149 pounds. The West Covina, Calif., native battled hard, but the nation's top wrestler was too much as he pinned Guardado in 1:38.
After suffering a pin at 157 pounds to put NC State in front 27-0, Duke redshirt sophomore Willy Mello garnered Duke's first points of the evening with an 8-6 decision over Colin Genther. NC State grabbed the early 2-0 lead, but Mello fought back and picked up the takedown to even the score with 1:10 left in the first period. After controlling the final minute of the session, Mello picked up another two-point takedown in the waning seconds for a narrow 4-2 lead after three minutes of wrestling.
Sporting a 4-2 lead to start the final stanza, Mello quickly made it 6-2 before Genthert registered and escape to make the score 6-3 in Duke's favor. The native of Chesapeake, Va., came right back with a takedown to make it 8-3 and held off a late charge by Genthert for his first ACC victory and fourth overall win of the season.
Duke grabbed six points of its own at 174 pounds as redshirt freshman Bret Klopp picked up his 15th pin of the season and 23rd win of the year. The native of Lander, Wyo., made quick work of Nijel Jones as he needed just 1:02 to make it a 27-9 match. Klopp improves to 23-7 overall and 4-1 in dual matches. The win was his first in the ACC this season.
Redshirt sophomore Diego Bencomo came out at 184 pounds for the Blue Devils. Up against Quinton Godley, Bencomo gained control of the match in the second period as he built his riding time to over a minute with one period remaining. Bencomo scored the first points of the match with an escape to start the final stanza. Knowing he also had the one point for riding time the Phoenix native fought off all of Godley's scoring attempts and added a takedown of his own for a 4-1 decision. The victory pushed Bencomo to 18-11 overall on the year and 1-1 in ACC matches.
Duke, looking for its fourth straight win in the match, lined up Blue Devil freshman Brian Self against KaRonne Jones at 197 pounds. Self picked up a takedown in the final seconds of the first period and added an escape in the second for a 3-0 lead after five minutes. After Jones scored on an escape to start the third, Self was outstanding in the final two minutes to secure the 3-1 decision and make the overall score 27-15 in favor of the Wolfpack.
"[Brian] Self did great tonight," Anderson said. "He's just a battler and he has really stepped up for us and I really like his competitive attitude and how hard he works out there."
The final match of the evening featured Duke redshirt sophomore Andrew Fulk and Eloheim Palma at 285 pounds. The heavyweight duo traded points through the opening period with Palma sporting a 4-3 lead after three minutes. Fulk came back with an escape in the second period to even the score at four apiece with NC State holding 1:55 of riding time. Fulk was able to eat away at the riding time to start the third period, but Palma picked up an escape to seal the 6-4 decision and give the Wolfpack the 30-15 match win.
Duke will take a short break from dual matches this weekend when it heads to the Appalachian State Open on Jan. 29.
125 - (NCSU) Dustin Champions wins by forfeit
133 - (NCSU) Dale Shull wins by forfeit
141 - (NCSU) Darrius Little dec. (DU) Mike Bell, 8-2
149 - (NCSU) Darrion Caldwell pinned (DU) A.J. Guardado, 1:38
157 - (NCSU) Matt Nereim pinned (DU) Ryan Harding, 1:16
165 - (DU) Willy Mello dec (NCSU) Colin Genthert, 8-6
174 - (DU) Bret Klopp pinned (NCSU) Nijel Jones, 1:02
184 - (DU) Diego Bencomo dec. (NCSU) Quinton Godley, 4-1
197 - (DU) Brian Self dec. (NCSU) Karonne Jones, 3-1
285 - (NCSU) Eloheim Palma dec. (DU) Andrew Fulk, 6-4