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No. 10 Missouri wrestling upsets No. 6 Oklahoma in first of back-to-back duals

Thursday, January 30, 2014 | 11:03 p.m. CST

It was the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners' Senior Night in Norman on Thursday night, but No. 10 Missouri didn't care.

Coach Brian Smith told them not to care.

"We always have an expectation to win," Smith said. "It doesn't matter if you're a freshman or a senior. They have five seniors and it was their senior night. And I told (the team), 'Hey, this is an opportunity for you — for some of you freshmen and young guys — to go out and get a win from them.'" 

Missouri freshman 197-pounder J'den Cox, the No. 5 wrestler in his weight class, heeded Smith's advice and beat Oklahoma redshirt senior Travis Rutt, No. 3 at 197 pounds, 6-1. That upset launched the Tigers into their upset of Oklahoma by a final of 18-15.

Cox's victory was icing on the Tigers' other successful bouts in earlier weight classes.

Missouri junior No. 1 Drake Houdashelt eclipsed the No. 2 wrestler and returning national champion at 149 pounds, Oklahoma redshirt senior Kendric Maple, in a tight 3-2 matchup. 

Missouri head assistant coach Sammie Henson coached previously at Oklahoma from 2010-12 and recruited Maple. Henson's insight on Maple's tendencies helped Houdashelt prepare throughout the week.

"(Maple) wants to score off of your offense, and so we circled on him and just wanted to get on his feet with the ankle pick," Henson said. "I think we took that ankle pick away by circling. It changed the whole match."

The Tigers left Norman immediately after tonight's dual for Stillwater, Okla., where the team will take on another high-octane opponent, No. 9 Oklahoma State, on Friday. But not before Smith provided more words of wisdom in the locker room.

"In the talk after the match, we just tell them that, you know, you've gotta enjoy it for a little bit, but this week is like the conference tournament or the national tournament," Smith said. "The conference tournament is two days. The national tournament is three days. And the reason I scheduled back-to-back matches is to get used to that. 

"You gotta go out and get wins, then you gotta go put that on the shelf, forget about it. You know, kind of have no memory about it and then focus on what you have to do on the next match and not bring any emotion from the night before. Go out and wrestle the way we teach them." 

Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.


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