Hawkeyes Top Huskers in Return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena

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IOWA CITY, Iowa. — The top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team defeated No. 7 Nebraska, 26-6, on Saturday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

In its first appearance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in seven weeks, Iowa won eight-of-10 bouts, including three-of-four top 10 matchups, to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten.

Spencer Lee opened the dual with a 18-0 technical fall at 125. He scored a takedown midway through the first, and rolled up 16 nearfall points to end the match in 2:58.

“I kept my pace high,” Lee said. “It is a scoring points mindset and that is all I can think about on the mat. It is not about how much time is left, maybe like it used to be. It is just about scoring points until the ref blows the whistle.”

Iowa won four matches to take a 14-3 lead into intermission, and came back from the break with three consecutive wins over top-five opponents. Alex Marinelli went on a second-period ride and scored four points in the final period to top No. 5 Isaiah White, 4-3, at 165. Michael Kemerer’s takedown with 17 seconds on the clock was the difference in his 3-1 win over No. 6 Mikey Labriola at 174. And Abe Assad, in his Carver debut, scored takedowns in the second and third period to win by 6-4 decision over No. 5 Taylor Venz at 184.

“My favorite moment from the whole match was end of the second period I got that takedown, and I had that huge mat return at the edge,” Assad said. “I returned him and he just stuck to the mat and didn’t move. I heard the crowd and it was awesome. There is nothing better than that. That’s why you put in all those hours for in the practice room, for moments just like that.”

Iowa held a 13-6 advantage in takedowns and outscored the Huskers 57-27 in match points, but minus Lee’s 18-0 win and Tony Cassioppi’s 6-1 decision at 285, every match of the dual was decided by four points or fewer.

“I think we got out strategized, we got out coached. They worked very hard and smart to keep it close, to beat us in the end,” said Iowa head coach Tom Brands. “We’ve got to get better, too many close matches. (You) don’t have to wait. Why didn’t that happen in the first period? Make this fun and get a little momentum going.”

Iowa hosts No. 4 Ohio State on Friday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. (CT) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


  • Iowa wrestlers have a combined record of 37-3 in Big Ten duals, and a 62-8 record overall in six duals this season.
  • Spencer Lee (17-0), Austin DeSanto (11-0), Alex Marinelli (21-0), Abe Assad (3-0), and Tony Cassioppi (4-0) are undefeated in their careers in Big Ten duals.
  • Spencer Lee improved to 9-0 with nine bonus-point wins. He has won his last four matches by technical fall.
  • Spencer Lee improved to 14-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
  • Lugo improved to 13-0 and extended his career-high win streak to 13.
  • Alex Marinelli improved to 13-0 overall and 14-0 all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
  • Michael Kemerer improved to 7-0 with his second straight win over a top-six opponent.
  • Abe Assad made his Carver-Hawkeye Arena debut.
  • Iowa has won its last 12 meetings in the series.

#1 IOWA 26, #7 Nebraska 6
125 — #1 Spencer Lee (IA) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (N), 18-0; 5-0
133 — #2 Austin DeSanto (IA) dec. #13 Ridge Lovett (N), 7-4; 8-0
141 — #9 Chad Red (N) dec. #6 Max Murin (IA), 6-2; 8-3
149 — #1 Pat Lugo (IA) dec. #16 Collin Purinton (N), 4-1; 11-3
157 — #6 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. #11 Peyton Robb (N)6-4; 14-3
165 — #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. #5 Isaiah White (N), 4-3; 17-3
174 — #2 Michael Kemerer (IA) dec. #6 Mikey Labriola (N), 3-1; 20-3
184 — #10 Abe Assad (IA) dec. #5 Taylor Venz (N), 6-4; 23-3
197 — #14 Eric Schultz (N) dec. #3 Jacob Warner (IA), 3-1; 23-6
285 — #3 Tony Cassioppi (IA) #15 Christian Lance (N)
Records: Iowa (7-0, 4-0), Nebraska (5-2, 0-2)
Attendance: 12,883