Coming off an emotional win over West Virginia on Saturday, and facing a less-heralded but still talented Bucknell squad on Sunday, it was a classic trap game for Pitt wrestling.
The first match seemed to be heading down that road, as Panthers freshman Brandon Fenton was defeated by Jakob Campbell via major decision to give the Bison a 4-0 lead.
But the No. 24 Panthers weren’t about to fall into that trap. Redshirt freshman Micky Phillippi bounced back with a 21-9 major decision over David Campbell at 133 pounds that featured nine takedowns to even the match and Pitt never looked back, winning the final nine bouts on the way to a 34-4 victory at Fitzgerald Field House.
Pitt lost just two matches in its weekend series against West Virginia and Bucknell while improving to 4-0 and has lost a total of three matches in three of its four wins this season.
“We’re wrestling well right now,” head coach Keith Gavin said. “It was a good weekend for us with West Virginia last night and Bucknell today. We lost to both of those teams last year, so it’s fun to see the progress.”
Senior LJ Bentley needed overtime, but put away Joey Gould, 9-7 with a takedown at 141 pounds. Fellow senior Robert Lee, the lone loser against the Mountaineers, bounced back to score the Panthers’ only pinfall over Matt Kolonia in 2:45 at 149 pounds.
No. 10 Taleb Rahmani also needed the sudden victory period, eventually defeating Zach Hartman 13-7 at 157 pounds. Jake Wentzel shut out DJ Hollingshead, 6-0 at 165 pounds and Gregg Harvey took home a 7-3 decision over Nick Stephani at 174 pounds.
That gave the Panthers a 22-4 lead heading into the final three matches, and No. 12 184-pounder Nino Bonaccorsi wasted little time, defeating Kyle Inlander by technical fall, 23-8, in 5:47.
Kellan Stout won, 6-2, over Drew Phipps at 197 pounds and No. 13 heavyweight Demetrius Thomas scored a 19-6 major decision over Joe Scott.
The 4-0 Panthers will take their unbeaten streak on the road for their next four meets. They’ll wrestle at Clarion on Friday, Dec. 21 to close the 2018 portion of their schedule. In January, they’ll head to Oklahoma, North Dakota State and South Dakota State before returning to the Field House against Oklahoma State on Jan. 19.