COLUMBIA — The Missouri wrestling team suffered a last-minute 16-15 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday night.
The Tigers led 15-13, going into the final match of the dual. The Tigers’ No. 4 Max Askren took on the Cornhusker’s No. 2 Craig Bester in the 197-pound match. Askren led 4-3 in the final minute of the match, but a late takedown led Bester to a 6-4 win.
Coach Brian Smith said he was disappointed in the outcome, but knows there will be more battles between Askren and Bester.
Senior Raymond Jordan said he hopes Askren learns from this match and that it helps him prepare for the Big 12 Championships.
“I was hoping that Max would get a reversal, but Breston came out and he wrestled tough. He won this meeting. Yes, it’s a big dual, but hopefully, Max comes back and avenges that in the Big 12 finals like he has the past two years.”
Jordan and Nicholas Marable both won their matches over higher-ranked opponents. After those wins, the Tigers lead 15-10.
No. 6 Marable defeated No. 4 Stephen Dwyer. Marable has never lost to Dwyer.
“We always have tough matches. He’s a really tough wrestler. Me and him go out there and we can scrap and let it all on the line. Our matches are always pretty close," Marable said.
Smith attributed Marable’s success to his refusal to give up takedowns. Smith believes Marable won’t give up another take down the rest of the season.
The Tigers and Cornhuskers both won five matches of the duals. They were all three-point decisions except for the 133-pound match, which was decided by four points. Freshman Taylor Crane lost to Matt Vacanti 20-7. Crane wrestled in place of Todd Schavrien, who was sick.
“He went out and battled,” Smith said. "He’s a true freshman. He didn’t know he was wrestling until two hours before. He had to lose a few pounds and get out on the mat.”
The Tigers continue their tough stretch next weekend when they face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on back-to-back nights.
Smith hopes that Jordan and the rest of the team will work hard on improving their offense for next weekend.
“We’ve got to score more on offense,” Smith said. “I think we were attacking. We always had them on the edge of the mat, but we’ve got to attack with more leg attacks and get more shots.”