Minnesota 28 Wisconsin 12

McKee’s Pin Highlights 28-12 Victory over Wisconsin

MINNEAPOLIS – No. 12 Minnesota (11-2, 6-2 B1G) finished out the regular season with an emphatic 28-12 Border Battle victory over Wisconsin (9-5, 3-4) Friday night in front of a season-best crowd of 3,155.

The Golden Gophers won 7 of 10 matches, including five by bonus points, to capture their 11th win in the past 12 meetings with the Badgers. It was also the team’s sixth straight victory, its longest streak since opening last season with seven consecutive wins. The 6-2 record in league action is the team’s best since going 7-2 in the 2020-21 campaign.

The fireworks started right away at 125 pounds as No. 11 Patrick McKee met No. 3 Eric Barnett for the 10th time in their careers. McKee entered with a 5-4 edge in the series, though Barnett had won three of four in the regular season. Barnett had a 3-1 lead after the first period, but McKee shot in late in the second period, got the takedown, and secured the pin at the 4:47 mark, sending Maturi Pavilion into a frenzy.

In addition to it being the fourth career pin for McKee over Barnett, it was also his team-best fifth of the season and the 26th of his career, tying Ryan Lewis for 19th in Minnesota history.

The matchup at 133 pounds was a wild one, as well, with No. 19 Tyler Wells defeating Nicolar Rivera 4-1 in overtime. Tied at 1-1, Wells was given three points, while three points and a fall were then called for Rivera. Upon review, the takedown and victory were credited to Wells, though Minnesota lost one team point for “Control of Mat” to give the Gophers an 8-0 lead through two matches.

Minnesota won its third straight match with a major decision from No. 26 Vance VomBaur at 141 pounds. Facing Zan Fugitt, VomBaur posted his third major decision of the season in a 17-5 victory. VomBaur held a 4-3 lead after the first period but added three takedowns over the final two periods and benefited from three stalling warnings being issued to Fugitt. VomBaur has scored 17 or more points in three of his last four matches.

Wisconsin got on the board at 149 pounds with No. 19 Joseph Zargo posting a 13-5 major decision over No. 16 Drew Roberts, but the Gopher lead was back to 12 points at intermission thanks to Michael Blockhus.

Ranked fourth at 157 pounds, Blockhus had little trouble with Luke Mechler in an 11-2 major decision. After a scoreless first period, Blockhus jumped ahead 4-0 after two and then posted two more takedowns in the third period to extend his winning streak to 10 matches. He is now 15-1 on the season and 12-1 in duals, including a perfect 8-0 record in the Big Ten.

Coming out of intermission, Wisconsin won matches at 165 and 174 pounds. No. 5 Dean Hamiti posted a 20-3 tech fall over No. 32 Blaine Brenner, and then No. 12 Max Maylor followed with a 4-1 decision on a late takedown to beat No. 31 Andrew Sparks.

Minnesota’s lead was cut from 16-4 to 16-12, but fifth-ranked Isaiah Salazar got the team back on track at 184 pounds. Taking on No. 16 Shane Liegel, the match was tied at 1-1 with 20 seconds to go when Salazar went in on a single leg and was able to take down Liegel and get the 4-1 victory. Salazar has won 12 straight matches, outscoring opponents 127-13 during that time. He’s 18-1 on the year and went undefeated in the Big Ten (7-0) and duals (11-0). He’s also undefeated against ranked opponents with a 4-0 mark.

The Gophers clinched the dual at 197 pounds with a dominant 18-3 tech fall from No. 20 Garrett Joles against Josh Otto. Joles’ fifth tech fall of the season featured four takedowns plus four points from stall warnings and over two minutes of riding time.

The night closed out at heavyweight with No. 30 Bennett Tabor earning an 11-1 major decision over Gannon Rosenfeld. Tabor never trailed, leading 3-1 after the first period and 7-1 through two. A third-period takedown pushed the match into bonus-point territory.

Minnesota is now finished with the regular season and will prepare for the Big Ten Championships, which take place March 9-10 in College Park, Md.

Feb. 16, 2024 | Minneapolis | Maturi Pavilion | Attendance: 3,155

#12 Minnesota 28 Wisconsin 12
125 #11 Patrick McKee (Minnesota) fall #3 Eric Barnett (Wisconsin) 4:47
133 #19 Tyler Wells (Minnesota) dec. Nicolar Rivera (Wisconsin) 4-1 sv-1
141 #26 Vance VomBaur (Minnesota) maj. dec. Zan Fugitt (Wisconsin) 17-5
149 #19 Joseph Zargo (Wisconsin) maj. dec. #13 Drew Roberts (Minnesota) 13-5
157 #4 Michael Blockhus (Minnesota) maj. dec. Luke Mechler (Wisconsin) 11-2
165 #5 Dean Hamiti (Wisconsin) tech. fall #32 Blaine Brenner (Minnesota) 20-3, 5:00
174 #12 Max Maylor (Wisconsin) dec. #31 Andrew Sparks (Minnesota) 4-1
184 #6 Isaiah Salazar (Minnesota) dec. #16 Shane Liegel (Wisconsin) 4-1
197 #20 Garrett Joles (Minnesota) tech. fall Josh Otto (Wisconsin) 18-3, 7:00
Hwt: #30 Bennett Tabor (Minnesota) maj. dec. Gannon Rosenfeld (Wisconsin) 11-1

*Minnesota lost one team point for “Control of Mat” following the match at 133 pounds

Check out Gopher Wrestling at gophersports.com and on Facebook, X (Twitter), and Instagram. Buy Gopher Tickets

View More College News