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OU wrestling: No. 19 Sooners can't outlast No. 6 Oklahoma State despite another close score at break

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Justin Thomas

Redshirt senior Justin Thomas warms up before the Bedlam dual against Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Feb. 21.

Sunday’s Bedlam dual felt very familiar heading into the second half, with the Sooners down only 12-10 after redshirt senior Justin Thomas dominated No. 13 Wyatt Sheets, 13-5, to earn his second win over Sheets this season.

At halftime of this season’s first Bedlam on Feb. 7, OU trailed 12-10, before going on to lose, 24-10. Just like two weeks ago in Norman, Sunday’s dual went downhill for the Sooners in the second half.

Thomas, ranked No. 10 at 157 pounds in the NCAA coaches poll, earned his eighth win of the year and continued fighting to give his team a chance to win the dual. Despite Thomas’ victory, No. 19 Oklahoma (5-5, 2-4 Big 12) fell to No. 6 Oklahoma State (10-0, 5-0), 24-16, in Stillwater, losing its 13th-straight Bedlam dual. The Sooners’ last defeat of the Cowboys was on Dec. 1, 2013 in Norman when they won, 16-15.

Unlike the first matchup between Thomas and Sheets which resulted in an overtime win for Thomas, this one wasn’t close. Thomas took control early and never looked back on his way to a dominant win.

“Justin looked like a pro today,” OU head coach Lou Rosselli said after the dual. “He’s done a lot of extra hard work, he executed the way he should and I couldn’t be more proud of what I saw from him.”

Redshirt junior Dom Demas, ranked No. 7 at 141 pounds, stayed hot as he defeated freshman Jakason Burks via fall in the third period. No. 24 Dusty Hone was out Sunday for Oklahoma State with a knee injury, so Burks slid into the lineup. The Cowboys couldn’t seem to find an answer for Demas as he’s now 6-0 in his career in Bedlam.

Redshirt junior Anthony Mantanona got himself back into the win column in the 174 bout Sunday, defeating No. 11 Dustin Plott, 7-4, in the rematch. Plott defeated Mantanona convincingly last time out, 11-6.

Mantanona hasn’t had the type of season the Sooners envisioned for him, losing four of his last six bouts. He got back on track, Sunday, putting his season record at 5-5 and picking up a big rivalry win.

“He was more competitive today,” Rosselli said. “He had more energy. His third period didn’t look like the last time. This time he got a winning takedown and rode him out. He hasn’t had a great year so far, but he’s trying to turn it around here at the end and finish strong.”

Redshirt freshman Josh Heindselman, No. 21 at 285 pounds, stayed undefeated in Bedlam duals, holding off No. 25 Austin Harris, 3-1. Heindselman has been a bright spot for the Sooners and he ends the regular season with a 7-3 record heading into the Big 12 Championship.

“(Heindselman) has done a really good job,” Rosselli said. “I love his effort. He’s a Sooner through and through, and he could be in the thick of it at nationals.”

Bedlam wasn’t as friendly to other Sooners on Sunday. In the 133 bout, junior Tony Madrigal was dominantly pinned, 14-4, by No. 1 Daton Fix. At 149, No. 14 junior Mitch Moore wasn’t able to win his rematch with No. 4 Boo Lewallen, who defeated him, 6-2, via decision.

Redshirt junior Jake Woodley, No. 15 at 197 pounds, came out firing in his rematch against No. 13 A.J. Ferrari, but ultimately dropped the bout, 4-1, and the dual was out of reach for the Sooners after that.

Sunday’s dual was Oklahoma’s last of the season and the Sooners will turn their focus toward the Big 12 Championships, taking place from March 6-7 at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa. Fans are permitted to attend the event and can purchase tickets on the Big 12 Conference’s website.

“We’ve got to keep making improvements for the Big 12 championship and nationals coming up,” Rosselli said. “I’m hopeful we will, because we’ve got guys that have what it takes to be in the thick of it.” 

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