STILLWATER, Okla. — Second-ranked Oklahoma State gave the third-ranked Iowa wrestling team an eye-opening reality check Sunday.
Starting with a stunning pin of Spencer Lee at 125 pounds, the Cowboys claimed seven matches and rolled to a 27-12 victory over the Hawkeyes in front of a sellout crowd of 13,811 at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The loss was the first in 15 duals for Iowa this season, and Oklahoma State delivered it in emphatic fashion while denying the Hawkeyes their first perfect dual record since 2010.
“We are vulnerable in positions and it showed,’’ Iowa coach Tom Brands said. “… This was an important dual for us and it was important to them, but it looked more important to them.’’
The Hawkeyes fell behind 12-0 and used decisions by Pat Lugo at 149 pounds, Kaleb Young at 157 and Alex Marinelli at 165 to tie the meet before the Cowboys won the last four matches to finish their own 15-0 dual season.
Brands said last week he was hoping Iowa could gain momentum in matches at 125 and 133 with Lee and Austin DeSanto facing top-five opponents.
Instead, the Hawkeyes found themselves in a 9-0 hole.
Lee, ranked second, found himself in a scoreless match with fourth-ranked Nick Piccininni after one period and was trailing 1-0 when Piccininni got in a shot.
The Iowa sophomore defended with splits on the edge, but got caught in a cradle and was pinned by the Cowboys’ 27-0 junior in 4 minutes, 55 seconds.
It marked the first time Lee has been pinned in a match at the collegiate level and it came against an opponent Lee defeated twice a year ago on his way to a national championship, winning 10-5 in a dual and pinning Piccininni in the NCAA quarterfinals.
DeSanto, ranked third, was unable to generate any offense in his match against second-ranked Daton Fix, falling 2-0. Fix used an escape and a point for riding time to move to 27-1 on the season.
With the exception of a pin of Mitch Bowman by Chandler Rogers, a 10th-ranked 165 pounder moving up to 174 for the postseason, the Cowboys claimed a series of decisions to earn their most lopsided win over the Hawkeyes since a 30-10 victory during the 2003-04 season.
That included a 5-3 loss by fourth-ranked Jacob Warner to sixth-ranked Preston Weigel at 197 that preceded eighth-ranked Sam Stoll dropping a 3-1 decision to second-ranked Derek White at 285.
“We need to impose our will and do what we do best against our opponent. We were passive or hesitant,’’ Brands said. “The bottom line is we have to get ready for tournament time. That doesn’t make it automatic, but we will go forward.’’
Marinelli did improve to 20-0 on the season for Iowa, jumping out to an 8-0 lead before pinning Jonce Blaylock in 2:44.
His team-leading ninth fall of the season came after Lugo, ranked 12th, upset sixth-ranked Kaden Gfeller at 149. After recording a pair of takedowns, Lugo overcame a pair or reversals with escapes that led him to a 7-4 victory.
At 157, Young scored a takedown in every period on his way to a 9-5 victory over Wyatt Sheets.
Iowa is idle until competing at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis beginning on March 9.