Purdue was able to notch their first Big Ten dual victory Friday night against the Michigan State Spartans with a huge 28-6 victory.
The night, dubbed as "Hammer Down Cancer Night," was topped by a huge pin by freshman Max Lyon at the 184-pound weight class against Shwan Shadaia.
"Right then I was like 'Oh my gosh, I got the kid!'" said Lyon on the fall. "Mostly, I've been working a lot on turns and was able to one on the kid. It was fun! I should be doing this more often."
Lyon was able to come out strong pinning Shadaia with just a few seconds left in the first round. Lyon got in quick on a shot, and after the takedown immediately proceeded to put in an arm-bar and half to score four back points. Despite the effort, Lyon was unable to pin Shadaia before catching his opponent from Michigan State with a half-nelson to get the Boilers pumping on all pistons, scoring six for the team.
Ben Thornton won the closest match of the night, in a lightning-quick matchup against Logan Griffin in the 133-pound weight class. Thornton was able to start off the match with two lightning quick misdirection Smith singles, zig-zagging before connecting with Griffin's heel and knee for a takedown.
"My assistant coach, Coach (A.J.) Schopp, and I have been working on that in the room quite a bit," said Thornton "We're working on some low-single stuff and some misdirection stuff, so it gave me some confidence being able to hit that in a match."
One constant throughout the match was the increase number of arm-bars, which according to Lyon was started by 165-pounder Jacob Morrisey.
"You know, I personally didn't do much of it," said Lyon on the arm-bars. "But seeing Morrisey do it I was like, 'You know, maybe I should do it and try it out.'"
Morrisey’s match at the 165-pound weight class also got the blood pumping, notching in 16 points to win 16-11 against Austin Hiles of Michigan State. Morrisey, despite a rough start, was able to get the match flowing in his favor after getting a takedown on Hiles.
Demonstrating his skill in ground wrestling, Morrisey was able to get in a cradle at the edge of the mat, ultimately scoring four off back points before being called out of bounds. The match was abruptly stopped by one of Michigan State’s jump rope, which broke and spilled beads all over the map. After the temporary stop, Morrisey attempted to throw Hiley but got stuck and was taken down with a single by Hiley.
Throughout the match, Hiley was able to score a few takedowns on Morrisey, but was forced to cut and let Morissey escape for one. Hiley was ultimately unable to wrestle out the end of the match, pounding the mat in frustration before screaming an expletive while running off the mat in the 16-11 victory for Morrisey.
Despite the huge wins over the Spartans, Purdue wrestling head coach Tony Ersland still sees room to improve.
"There were a few matches tonight where we got beat or it got closer than it should've because we let the pace get slowed down," said Ersland. "Maybe that was because of their physicality and maybe that was because of their ties."
Going forward, Ersland is optimistic about the improvement in the team.
"Sometimes its hard to judge progress, especially when you're wrestling in the Big Ten," said Ersland. "We focus more on the process and the performance than just the wins and losses because you want to make sure we are progressing in situations like we were tonight on top. ... It's just making those adjustments so by the time you get to Big Tens, you fix all these little areas of concentration and we feel good about every position."
The Boilers return to action against historic rival Indiana University down in Bloomington Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.