No. 10 N.C. State trounces Duke wrestling in ACC dual opener

<p>Thayer Atkins was one of Duke's few bright spots at No. 10 N.C. State Thursday evening, posting a new career-high with his 15th match win this season.&nbsp;</p>

Thayer Atkins was one of Duke's few bright spots at No. 10 N.C. State Thursday evening, posting a new career-high with his 15th match win this season. 

Seeking their third straight win at N.C. State, the Blue Devils got off to a fast 6-0 start on the No. 10 team in the nation.

But the Wolfpack responded by winning the night's final eight bouts to leave no doubt in a second straight rout against Duke.

The Blue Devils fell 34-6 to N.C. State at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh Wednesday evening, with back-to-back victories from redshirt junior Jacob Kasper and junior Thayer Atkins in the first two matchups of the contest earning Duke's only team points. After falling behind 6-0 early on, three of the Wolfpack's four ranked competitors earned convincing wins to put the home team up 12-6, and N.C. State cruised to victory by winning the day's last five bouts.

Now ranked No. 7 at heavyweight after a strong start to 2017, Kasper started the night by shutting out Michael Boykin in a 3-0 decision. After building a 2-0 lead late in the first of three three-minute periods, Kasper earned another point for an escape in the second period then held off Boykin to get his team off to a strong start on the road. 

Atkins continued that momentum, using a fast start at 125 pounds to best N.C. State freshman Tommy Cox with an 11-6 decision. The Dallas native used a takedown and four nearfall points to take a 6-0 lead in the first period, then warded off Cox's comeback effort to post a new career-high with his 15th win this season. 

But that was Duke's last highlight of the night, as N.C. State's ranked competitors took control.

At 133 pounds, No. 15 Jamal Morris and Blue Devil sophomore Cole Baumgartner had an entertaining bout, with both competitors jostling for position throughout all three periods. Ultimately, Morris' early advantage allowed the Wolfpack junior to come away with a 17-10 decision and get his squad on the board.

No. 2 Kevin Jack at 141 pounds and No. 14 Sam Spino then swung the momentum completely to the home team. Jack dominated Duke's Zach Finesilver with a technical fall 16-0, then Spino bested Xaviel Ramos with an 18-7 major decision to put N.C. State up 12-6. 

After a brief intermission, Duke redshirt junior Jake Faust made his ACC debut at 157 pounds—he wrestled for the first time all season last weekend.

Faust took a 5-4 lead on Thomas Bullard after two periods, but the Wolfpack freshman regained the lead with a timely third-period reversal and held off Faust for a gritty 7-6 decision.

Brian Hamann then dominated Duke's Joey Abbate in an 18-1 technical fall at 165 pounds before the Blue Devils forfeited at 174 pounds without any competitors. 

Duke's Alec Schenk then fell in a 12-4 major decision to No. 11 Michael Macchiavello at 184 pounds and N.C. State's Malik McDonald closed out a 17-8 major decision facing Blue Devil Luke Farinaro at 197 pounds to wrap up the rout for the N.C. State.

After hanging with its first two top-20 opponents of the year in the fall, Duke will look to bounce back following Wednesday's setback Tuesday evening when it hosts No. 20 Appalachian State. 


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