The margin of error was slim and margin of victory for some was even less.
In the end, both favored Oklahoma State rather than the University of Iowa in a battle between two of college wrestling's top programs.
Fourth-ranked Iowa dropped the last five matches, including four straight one-point decisions, as Oklahoma State notched an 18-12 win Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla.
The dual featured 17 ranked wrestlers and seven bouts with two ranked competitors, resulting in dual statistics being nearly even. The Cowboys came through when they needed.
"Finishing was the difference today," Iowa Coach Tom Brands said in a news release. "It was the difference between winning the matches and the meet.
Oklahoma State closed with the stronger part of the lineup. The Cowboys' 15th-ranked Chris Chionuma provided a pivotal win, scoring a takedown with about a minute left, to beat No. 10 Ethen Lofthouse 4-3. It was part of a frustrating string of one-point losses for Iowa (12-1).
In one of the marquee matchups of the dual, Oklahoma State's top-ranked Chris Perry faced Mike Evans, ranked as high as fourth in national polls. Perry opened with a takedown and Evans answered with an escape in the second.
Perry escaped to start the third for a 3-1 lead. Evans tied the score, 3-3, late in the third, but Perry had accrued more than a minute of riding time for an extra point and 4-3 victory.
Tyler Caldwell started the Oklahoma State run, taking down Nick Moore in the final period for a 3-2 win at 165. Oklahoma State grabbed its first lead of the dual when 197-pounder Blake Rosholt scored a takedown with about 20 seconds left, defending Nathan Burak's shot, for a 3-2 win. The Cowboys led 15-12 with one match to go.
The Hawkeyes still had a chance to win the dual in the final match, including a possible advantage in match-points criteria (45-43). Heavyweight Alan Gelogaev secured the win with a decision for Oklahoma State (8-0).
The start was good, but not great for the Hawkeyes. They built an early 9-0 lead that became a 12-3 advantage at the midway point.
Iowa's top-ranked Matt McDonough (10-0) tallied four takedowns for a 10-4 win over Eddie Klimara at 125. McDonough, a two-time NCAA champion and three-time national finalist, won his 38th straight match, giving him 110 for his career.
Tony Ramos (13-0) faced his first ranked foe of the season. The Hawkeyes' second-ranked 133-pounder used a first-period takedown to post a 3-2 win over No. 5 Jon Morrison.
In a battle of former Iowa preps, Iowa's Mark Ballweg, a state champion at Waverly-Shell Rock, beat former Keokuk wrestler, Julian Feikert at 141. Ballweg led throughout, powered by three takedowns, for an 8-3 decision.
Top-ranked Derek St. John (157) had Iowa's final win. St. John scored five points in the final period for an 8-4 victory.
AT STILLWATER, OKLA.
Oklahoma State 18, Iowa 12
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
125 pounds - Matt McDonough (I) dec. Eddie Klimara, 10-4 (4, 0); 133 - Tony Ramos (I) dec. Jon Morrison, 3-2 (1, 0); 141 - Mark Ballweg (I) dec. Julian Feikert, 8-3 (3, 0); 149 - Jordan Oliver (OSU) dec. Mike Kelly, 10-4 (4, 0); 157 - Derek St. John (I) dec. Alex Dieringer, 8-4 (2, 0); 165 - Tyler Caldwell (OSU) dec. Nick Moore, 3-2 (1, 0); 174 - Chris Perry (OSU) dec. Mike Evans, 4-3 (1, 1); 184 - Chris Chionuma (OSU) dec. Ethen Lofthouse, 3-2; 197 - Blake Rosholt (OSU) dec. Nathan Burak, 3-2 (1, 0); Hwt. - Alan Gelogaev (OSU) dec. Bobby Telford, 7-3 (3, 0).
MEET STATISTICSTakedowns - Iowa 11, Oklahoma State 11; Reversals - Iowa 0, Oklahoma State 1; Escapes - Iowa 19, Oklahoma State 17; Nearfall points - Iowa 2, Oklahoma State 0; Penalty points (awarded) - Iowa 0, Oklahoma State 0; Riding time points - Iowa 2, Oklahoma State 2.