CHAPEL HILL—Duke took its second loss in a row, this time at the hands of its rival.
Facing off in Carmichael Arena, the Blue Devils fell to the Tar Heels 24-12. Duke’s 12 points resulted only from decision wins, whereas all but two of North Carolina’s victories came with bonus points.
“I felt like we got beat a lot worse. We didn’t wrestle up to nearly what we should have,” head coach Glen Lanham said. “You’ve got to get up for a rivalry, and you’ve got to wrestle hard.”
Opening the night with the 165-pound bout, Duke redshirt sophomore Marcus Cain challenged sophomore John Staudenmayer. After surviving the first period down 2-0, Cain suffered four takedowns and a near fall to lose 14-3 and give North Carolina (6-10, 1-4 in the ACC) the major decision.
Next up, 174-pound redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson met an even match in freshman Tar Heel Scott Marmoll. Scoreless after the first period, Adamson sustained a cut to his eyebrow and wrestled the remainder of the match with a bandage covering one eye. Tied 1-1 after three periods, Adamson took Marmoll to a second overtime before losing on a takedown in the final seconds to drop the match 4-2.
“You’ve got to set the tone, and tonight I felt like [Adamson] didn’t do that. Every person has to take responsibility for their wrestling, but I believe that you have to have a tone-setter too,” Lanham said. “That was a match we should have had… and obviously we didn’t get it, and so I felt like it was kind of downhill from there.”
Duke (6-12, 0-5) began to turn the tables in the heavier weight classes, closing in on the Tar Heel lead behind redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann, who managed a takedown with 18 seconds left to claim the decision and redshirt sophomore heavyweight Brendan Walsh, who edged out freshman opponent Bob Coe 4-1, bringing the match score to 11-6.
The next of Duke’s two final wins did not come until the score was stretched to 21-6 in favor of North Carolina. Freshman Xaviel Ramos’s 9-6 come-from-behind win still left Duke 12 points behind with two rounds to wrestle. Coming in at 149 pounds, freshman Connor Bass entered a quick-paced bout against Tar Heel sophomore Christian Barker, suffering a close 3-0 loss to seal the win for North Carolina.
“It’s got to almost be a dog fight—you’ve got to want to fight out there, and I felt like they punched us in the nose, and we took it,” Lanham said. “We have to know in situations to wrestle hard, and I think they beat us in every situation tonight.”
Finishing off the night, redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown cruised to a 5-1 decision to remain undefeated in conference, but the Blue Devils were handed yet another conference loss.
Duke will hope to bounce back from the loss next week in South Carolina, facing Furman in the final week of regular season dual competition. After that, the Blue Devils will have one more chance to notch an ACC win when N.C. State visits Durham Feb. 22.
“I think we just have to get our guys to wrestle hard. We have not done that all year long, and there are duals that we’re capable of wining, and we haven’t done that,” Lanham said. “Bottom line is, we’re not wrestling up to our potential.”