Moore, Evans, Brooks set tone for win over Minnesota


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MINNEAPOLIS — Nick Moore couldn’t really explain the impact of his second-period pin over Brandon Kingsley. He stated the obvious, that Iowa received 6 team points rather than 3, but he left the rest of the explanation to teammate Mike Evans.

“Other than that, it maybe sets the tone a little bit,” said Moore, Iowa’s 165-pounder. “I don’t know. You’d have to ask the next guy, sitting next to me.”

Well, Mike?

“Yeah, you feel it, for sure, especially in a hostile environment,” Evans said. “You get a guy who puts 6 on the board, it shuts [the opposing crowd] up real quick. We didn’t have to listen to those fans as much. It was really nice.”

Minnesota wrestling fans didn’t have much to cheer for after top-ranked Iowa opened the 100th meeting between the two teams on Jan. 30 with three-straight wins. Moore’s pin plus Evans’ win followed by Sammy Brooks’ victory paved the way for the Hawkeyes’ eventual 23-12 triumph over the second-ranked Gophers.

Moore opened his bout with a sluggish style and allowed Kingsley to score a takedown in the first period. Moore scored two escapes — one in the first, and another in the second — before knocking Kingsley off balance and cinching up the fall in four minutes, 27 seconds.

“It was a pretty slow match. I needed to pick up my foot speed there in the second period, and that’s what happened,” Moore said. “I got him moving, and he kind of fell into my lap. He got a dose of some heavy hips, and it just felt good when I locked it up.”

The pin gave Iowa a 6-0 lead — and it only got worse for Minnesota.

Evans followed with a 3-1 overtime win over Logan Storley at 174 pounds. Considered a swing match, it was just the second time Evans has beaten Storley in five tries.

After hand fighting for the majority of regulation, Evans attacked on a setup in overtime to get to Storley’s legs, after which he drove upward and took Storley to the mat. The official called 2, confirmed it after a review, and Iowa’s lead became 9-0.

Brooks’ 13-7 win over Brett Pfarr at 184 pounds was buoyed by five takedowns — one in the first period, and two in both the second and third. Through three matches, the score was 12-0, Iowa, a deficit Minnesota did not recover from.

“Those things are going to happen to you in dual meets, and they’re going to happen to you at the Big Ten and national tournaments,” Minnesota head coach J Robinson said. “But you can’t let them affect you.”

The closest Minnesota came to Iowa was after the 197-pound match, when Scott Schiller beat Iowa’s Nathan Burak, 3-1, to make the score 12-3. Bobby Telford and Thomas Gilman responded with a decision and technical fall in their matches to broaden the lead to 20-3.

By then, the Maroon and Gold majority of the 13,603 in attendance had gone from cheering loudly to booing to being drowned out by those clad in Black and Gold.

The importance of starting strong is something Iowa coach Tom Brands preaches continually — recall last year, when Minnesota’s Sam Brancale opened the dual with a pin over Gilman, leading to a 19-15 win for the Gophers.

Still, Brands, who always looks for ways to improve, would prefer his team not only start strong but finishe strong, too.

“Don’t hold it against me when I say that we want to wrestling an entertaining style,” he said. “You maybe never reach perfection, but we’re still going to talk about it.

“Don’t hold it against me, but we’re going to keep striving for it.”

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