Iowa Hawkeyes

Spencer Lee earns first-period tech fall, Iowa wrestling takes care of Nebraska

Top-ranked Hawkeyes improve to 7-0 with 26-6 win over No. 7 Cornhuskers

Iowa's Spencer Lee grabs a hold of Nebraska's Alex Thomsen in their 125-weight bout during a dual at Carver-Hawkeye Aren
Iowa’s Spencer Lee grabs a hold of Nebraska’s Alex Thomsen in their 125-weight bout during a dual at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Opponents have found it hard to survive more than one period against Iowa’s Spencer Lee.

Three minutes probably seems like an eternity against the two-time NCAA champion, who ended half of his first eight matches this season in the first period. He only needed half of that against Nebraska freshman Alex Thomsen.

Lee tallied 18 points in less than 90 seconds and earned his sixth technical fall of the season, sparking top-ranked Iowa to a 26-6 Big Ten Conference dual victory over No. 7 Nebraska Saturday night in front of 12,883 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“It’s all about scoring points no matter how much time is left on the clock,” Lee said. “I’m the kind of guy that if there is 10 seconds left on the clock, I’ve got time to turn. I’ve got three seconds left on the clock, I have time to turn, to (get a) takedown, to escape, so just scoring points the whole match as hard as you can, as fast as you can.”

Lee said he started slow in his 18-0 trouncing, but things picked up when he scored a takedown with 1:25 left. After that, it was all Lee with a series of tilts.

He locked up his patented move first to make it 6-0 before going out of bounds. On the restart, he added the second of a quartet of four-point nearfalls. The turn is well-known but opponents fail to stop the all-World competitor.

“I’m just strong, I guess,” Lee said. “Pressure and I go hard for it.

“I just want to score points. If I’m not scoring on top, I might start cutting guys and going back to my feet. It doesn’t matter.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s just a scoring points mindset and that’s all I can think about on the mat. It’s not about how much time is left, like maybe I used to in the past. It’s just about scoring points and when that ref blows the whistle then you can stop wrestling.”

Lee’s third tilt was a seamless mat return into a tilt as Thomsen attempted to escape on the edge.

“He started kind of running out of bounds and I used the momentum with it and locked it tight,” Lee said. “Made sure not to leave my feet because that’s illegal and I don’t want to hurt anybody. You never want to hurt anybody. I made sure not to use my feet, brought him down to the mat safely and got back points.”

Lee improved to 9-0 and has scored bonus points in every match this season.

Like Lee, Abe Assad stepped into the lineup as a true freshman. The first-year Hawkeye from Carol Stream, Ill., made his Carver-Hawkeye debut. He ignited the Iowa crowd with two takedowns, including one in the third, for a 6-4 decision over fifth-ranked Taylor Venz at 184.

The Hawkeyes won four of the first five matches, building a 14-3 lead at the midway point.

Second-ranked 133-pounder Austin DeSanto followed Lee’s start, tallying three takedowns in the first two periods for a 7-4 decision over Ridge Lovett.

Pat Lugo (149) and Kaleb Young (157) posted consecutive decisions. Young scored his second takedown with less than a minute left to beat Peyton Robb, 6-4.

After the break, Alex Marinelli won a battle between top-five ranked 165-pounders. Second-ranked Marinelli scored three points in the final period and amassed 2:53 of riding time for a point and 4-3 victory over No. 5 Isaiah White.

Second-ranked Michael Kemerer followed with another exciting finish. He took down No. 6 Mikey Labriola with 15 seconds left for a 3-1 win, leading into Assad’s bout.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Iowa (7-0, 4-0) outscored Nebraska, 57-27, in match points and has won 37 of 40 matches in four Big Ten duals this season. Nebraska dropped to 5-2 and 0-2 in conference.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.