DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown continued his winning streak tonight with a dual victory over Ohio State at 157 pounds as the Blue Devils fells to the ninth-ranked Buckeyes 25-10. Kerr-Brown remains unbeaten in duals this season at 4-0.
Joining Kerr-Brown as winners for Duke were Marcus Cain at 165 and Conner Hartmann in the 197-pound division. Duke falls to 1-3 overall with two of those losses coming against top 25 opponents. Ohio State improves to 2-0.
“Probably the frustrating part is all of the stuff we’ve went over we’re kind of losing because the guys are not really buying into what we’re telling them in tight situations,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “I like the way [Immanuel Kerr-Brown] came back and wrestled hard and Marcus [Cain] and then I liked the way that Connor Bass got himself back into the match. I like the fact they didn’t quit, but now I feel like we have to start closing tight matches. Now we have to find a way to wrestle hard and win.”
The match started at 141 pounds as reigning NCAA Champion at 133 Logan Stieber of Ohio State quickly put the Buckeyes up 5-0 with a technical fall over Duke true freshman Xaviel Ramos.
Connor Bass, the second of four Duke true freshmen to wrestle tonight, nearly made it a 5-3 match as he made a valiant comeback against Ohio State’s Ian Paddock at 149. Trailing 3-1 with Paddock owning the bonus point for riding time heading into the final period, Bass escaped to make it 3-2. After battling at neutral for nearly a minute, the rookie got a takedown with just over 20 seconds left to force the sudden victory overtime. Paddock picked up a takedown 34 seconds
into the period to earn the 6-4 decision and put Ohio State up 8-0.
The excitement continued at 157 with Kerr-Brown scoring a last-second takedown for the 7-6 decision over Randall Languis.
“That was awesome,” Lanham said. “That kid never quit. At the Purdue match we asked him to get an escape in I think six seconds and he not only got an escape but he reversed the guy. So this time we told him ‘IKB you have to have a takedown’. The IKB of old wouldn’t have gotten that.”
After a 4-4 first period, Languis rode Kerr-Brown throughout the second period to build over a minute of riding time and then added an escape to start the third for what seemingly was a 6-4 lead.
A second stalling call on Languis pulled the Rome, Ga., native within a takedown of the victory. They returned to neutral with five seconds to go and Kerr-Brown needing a takedown. Like he did in his previous duals, the captain came up big and got the takedown as time expired for the thrilling 7-6 decision.
“It didn’t cross my mind that ‘Oh man I don’t think I can do this.’ I ignored it and kept going and did what my coaches told me to do. It feels really good [to be undefeated]. Especially three Big 10 wins is really awesome. It feels great to know that my training is paying off, but I just have to keep working on little things. Every single match there are little things I can learn from and get better.”
Cain followed that win up with a 5-2 decision of his own over Joe Grandominico to bring the Blue Devils within three, 9-6. The native of Winston-Salem, N.C. scored an early takedown in the first period and quickly built up two minutes of riding time.
Grandominico escaped to start the second, making it 2-1, but it was all Cain in the third as he registered a second takedown and the riding time bonus point for the 5-2 win. The victory is his fifth of the year and brings his dual record to 2-2 overall.
Trailing 9-6 with an unbeaten Trey Adamson on deck at 174 pounds, Duke nearly took the lead as the redshirt sophomore dropped a tough 10-9 decision to Mark Martin. Adamson trailed 7-4 after five minutes of wrestling and like his teammates in prior matches he mounted a comeback. He registered a pair of takedowns within 11 seconds of each other in the third period to make it a 9-8 match. Martin escaped with 12 seconds left to bring it to 10-8. A second stalling warning to Martin made it 10-9 as the seconds ticked away, resulting in the hard-fought setback.
An 11-5 decision by No. 8 Kenny Courts over Duke freshman Jacob Kasper pushed the Buckeyes lead to 14-6 with four matches remaining.
Hartmann, 2-1 in duals on the year, came out and gave Duke four points with a 9-1 major decision over Josh Fox at 197. The Duke captain attacked from the opening whistle and never looked back en route to his sixth win of the season.
Ohio State closed out the match with a pair of decisions at heavyweight and 125 and a technical fall at 133 by No. 14 Johnni DiJulius against true freshman Alex Elsea in his first collegiate dual.
“Bringing the No. 9-ranked team in the country in…those guys they have wrestling savvy and they’re tough,” Lanham said. “So now we have to get to that point. We have the talent, we just have to get to that point. I sound a little down, but I feel like our effort was there. Our guys wrestled hard. We’re close. We’re like a domino, we’re ready to fall we just need the right push.”
Duke takes a long break before returning to the mats at the Southern Scuffle Jan. 1-2.