Hawkeyes Start Big, Finish Big in Win Over No. 4 Ohio State

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Spencer Lee and Austin DeSanto ran out of intermission with consecutive technical falls to send the top-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team past No. 4 Ohio State, 24-10, on Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Lee dominated from start to finish, turning a first-period takedown into 16 nearfall points and using just two minutes, 32 seconds of the first period win 18-0 at 125 pounds.

DeSanto gave pause to his 133-pound match, surrendering a takedown in the first seven seconds of the first period. But he quickly escaped and turned the next five minutes, 37 seconds into a DeSanto highlight real — three takedowns in the first, five in the second, and four more in the third. His 12th and final takedown terminated the match, 27-12.

“He is awesome. I told him that is how it’s done,” said Iowa coach Tom Brands. “You want a definition of how to wrestled a dominating wrestling match. That is how it’s done. Twenty-seven points.”

“From last week to this week I’m more focused. Leaner, meaner, hungry like a wolf,” DeSanto said. “I am ready to go. I’ve got to move my feet off the whistle; you guys saw that. Coming out too rushed. I have to be looser, hands down, be ready.”

The consecutive wins extended Iowa’s halftime lead from 11-3 to 21-3. The dual started at 165 pounds, and Iowa opened with decisions from Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer, and Abe Assad. Marinelli used six takedowns to win, 14-10, at 165. Kemerer used two takedowns and two minutes, 50 seconds of riding time to earn a top 10 win at 174. Assad put the 13th largest crowd in Carver history (13,405) on its feet with a deciding takedown in the final minute at 184.

Ohio State got on the board with a decision at 197, but Tony Cassioppi put momentum back in the Hawkeyes’ favor with a 9-3 win at 285. He led 4-1 after one, 5-1 after two, and used a four-point move in the third to nearly end the bout with bonus points.

“I have always wanted to wrestle like a smaller guy. Move my feet, score points like guys like DeSanto,” Cassioppi said. “I need a little more DeSanto in my wrestling in that third period to get that major. That is something I learned today.”

Iowa won seven-of-10 bouts overall and held a 27-11 advantage in takedowns. The Hawkeyes are now 5-0 in the Big Ten and have won 44-of-50 matches in those five wins.

“Every dual is a statement dual for our team,” Lee said. “We are just going out there and wrestling our hardest, proving that we can be the best in the country. Right now, we are. We just have to keep it going. We haven’t won nationals yet, have we? We have to keep it going every week, do our best to improve, and be ready for the big show when it comes in March.”

Ohio State picked up wins at 141 and 149 in the second half, but Kaleb Young ended things with a 4-1 win at 157 pounds. Iowa’s 14-point margin of victory was its largest in the series since defeating the Buckeyes, 33-3, in 2011. It was Iowa’s largest margin against a top-five team since defeating No. 5 Cornell, 24-8, in 2015.

Iowa hosts No. 2 Penn State on Friday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. (CT) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


  • Iowa wrestlers have a combined record of 44-6 in Big Ten duals, and 69-11 in overall duals this season.
  • Spencer Lee (18-0), Austin DeSanto (12-0), Alex Marinelli (22-0), Abe Assad (4-0), and Tony Cassioppi (5-0) are undefeated in their careers in Big Ten duals.
  • Spencer Lee improved to 10-0 with 10 bonus-point wins. He has won his last five matches by technical fall, outscoring his opponents 84-1.
  • Spencer Lee improved to 15-0 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
  • The 27 points scored by Austin DeSanto are a career high. He scored 26 points two times as a freshman at Drexel. He has scored 20 points or more 20 times in his career.
  • Carter Happel made his first appearance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since defeating Purdue’s Parker Filius, 2-0, on Nov. 24, 2018, at 149 pounds. Happel’s last 141-pound appearance at Carver was Feb. 2, 2018, when he pinned No. 10 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota in 6:58.
  • Alex Marinelli improved to 14-0 overall and 15-0 all-time at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. He has a career dual record of 38-0 and a Big Ten dual record of 22-0.
  • Michael Kemerer improved to 8-0 with his third straight win over a top-eight opponent. He has won 28 straight duals.
  • Abe Assad improved to 4-0 since removing his redshirt on Jan. 10.
  • Cash Wilcke made his first appearance at 197 since the 2018 NCAA Championships (22 months).
  • Attendance was 13,405, the 13th largest crown is Carver-Hawkeye Arena history.

#1 IOWA 24, #4 Ohio State 10
165 — #2 Alex Marinelli (IA) dec. #13 Ethan Smith (OSU), 14-10; 3-0
174 — #2 Michael Kemerer (IA) dec. #8 Kaleb Romero (OSU), 7-1; 6-0
184 — #7 Abe Assad (IA) dec. #22 Rocky Jordan (OSU), 3-1; 9-0
197 — #1 Kollin Moore (OSU) dec. Cash Wilcke (IA), 8-3; 9-3
285 — #3 Tony Cassioppi (IA) dec. #24 Gary Traub (OSU), 9-3; 11-3*
125 — #1 Spencer Lee (IA) tech. fall Hunter Lucas (OSU), 18-0; 16-3
133 — #2 Austin DeSanto (IA) tech. fall 18 Jordan Decatur (OSU), 27-12; 21-3
141 — #1 Luke Pletcher (OSU) major dec. Carter Happel (IA), 14-5; 21-7
149 — #6 Sammy Sasso (OSU) dec. #1 Pat Lugo (IA), 2-1 TB1; 21-10
157 — #6 Kaleb Young (IA) dec. #32 Elijah Cleary (OSU), 4-1; 24-10
*Iowa was deducted one team point for control of the mat following the 285-pound match
Records: Iowa (8-0, 5-0), Ohio State (7-2, 3-1)
Attendance: 13,405