Mitch Bowman Keegan Moore

Iowa's Mitch Bowman grapples with Oklahoma State's Keegan Moore in their match at 184 pounds Sunday at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Bowman won a 10-6 decision and the Hawkeyes beat the Cowboys 20-12.

Brian Ray, University of Iowa Athletics

IOWA CITY – Mitch Bowman took the mat Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena determined to fight for something worth fighting for – respect.

The junior from North Scott broke a 6-6 deadlock after two periods to defeat Oklahoma State’s 19th-rated Keegan Moore, positioning Iowa’s seventh-ranked wrestling team to earn a statement-making 20-12 win over third-rated Oklahoma State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“We came out here ready to fight to show people what we’re about. This was a big dual for us and whatever it took to get it done, that’s what we were going to do,’’ Bowman said. “My job was to come out and compete the way I did, to fight for every point.’’

Bowman moved ahead in his match at 184 pounds with an escape two seconds into the third and took Moore down with 1:24 remaining before picking up a point for riding time to win a 10-6 decision.

“I took him down twice in the first period so I knew I could do it again. I knew I had the point for riding time, but I wanted that last takedown to put it away,’’ Bowman said. “The place was going crazy. I fed off that energy.’’

A crowd of 13,485 provided plenty of that from the moment 125-pounder Spencer Lee scored eight first-period points on his way to a 10-5 decision over sixth-ranked Nick Piccininni to the second Sam Stoll finished off a 6-4 win over 10th-rated Derek White at 285 with a takedown with 39 seconds remaining in a second overtime period.

The Hawkeyes won six matches against the Cowboys and picked up bonus points in just one, a 23-8 technical fall by second-rated Brandon Sorensen over 14th-ranked Boo Lewallen at 149.

Like Lee, who was unable to sustain his early surge, Sorensen started fast.

He collected back points in the first 40 seconds of his match but unlike Lee, who said he must learn from the way his match played out, Sorensen finished even faster. He collected five of his nine takedown during a frenzied final period.

“I don’t know if I approached it any differently than normal. But, I did come out ready and felt good from the start,’’ Sorensen said. “You only get so many chances during a season to make a statement. We took a step forward today and that is what we wanted to do.’’

Iowa coach Tom Brands called the dual which allowed Iowa to improve to 9-0 on the year one the Hawkeyes had been building toward since the start of the season.

“This was about two teams in the same category trying to get to that next category. People talk about Penn State and Ohio State being at the top and the rest of us trying to get there,’’ Brands said. “If you’re going to do that, you’ve got to take steps forward and I felt like we did that. Now, we’ve got to keep moving.’’

The Cowboys, falling to 6-1, struggled to get moving against Iowa.

“In some of the matches we needed to win, we didn’t. In some of the matches where I thought we might find some bonus points, we didn’t,’’ Oklahoma State coach John Smith said. “We just didn’t do enough.’’

Oklahoma State recorded just three first-period takedowns against the Hawkeyes, all coming in wins against Phillip Laux and Vince Turk at Iowa’s problematic 133 and 141 weight classes.

Brands said his team must find a solution there as it works toward duals at second-rated Ohio State next Sunday and at home against eighth-ranked Michigan on Jan. 27.

“It’s about looking good out there and we’re not even at a point where we’re winning ugly,’’ Brands said. “We’re losing ugly. Winning ugly is the next step. Then we can worry about looking good. We’ve got to get past the silliness. We’ve got to grow up in a hurry.’’

In matches against top-five opponents, Laux dropped a 16-6 major decision to Kaid Brock at 133 and Turk fell 4-0 to Dean Heil at 141.

The losses left Iowa behind 7-3 before Sorensen pushed the Hawkeyes in front with his technical fall, preceding a 9-2 decision by the Hawkeyes’ second-ranked Michael Kemerer at 157 and a 5-2 win by 11th-ranked Alex Marinelli over eighth-rated Chandler Rogers.

That extended Iowa’s lead to 14-6, a margin the Cowboys’ 14th-rated Jacobe Smith cut to 14-9 with a 3-1 win over Joey Gunther at 174 before Bowman took the mat.

“Bowman came out tough he stayed tough and when he does that for seven minutes, there’s a lot to like about Mitch Bowman,’’ Brands said.

Bowman insists Sunday proved there’s a lot to like about the Hawkeyes.

“The way Lee came out at the start, the way Sorensen put up points and way Stoll finished it off, that’s Iowa wrestling,’’ Bowman said. “We showed that today and that’s the fight we have to have from here on out.’’

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