By Ryan Shiner
COLUMBIA — After losing at No. 8 Oklahoma State 28-6 on Jan. 31, the No. 9 Missouri wrestling team was set to get back to its winning ways. And Missouri did just that by defeating Buffalo 41-0 at the Hearnes Center on Friday.
Missouri is now 7-2 in dual meets this season and Friday’s win marked the team’s third shutout of the season, and its second following a loss.
“I think unfortunately, losing does refocus you,” coach Brian Smith said. “This is where we are going to have to start maturing as a team, putting two and three matches in a row like that, and tomorrow’s really important.”
Missouri will face Eastern Michigan in a dual meet at home Saturday.
Friday’s meet was part of Missouri’s annual “Beauty and the Beast” event, where a wrestling meet takes place in the Hearnes Center the same time as a Missouri gymnastics competition. Missouri gymnastics defeated Southeast Missouri State 194.125 to 190.900.
Missouri wrestling made some fireworks early in the meet. In the 141-pound weight class, No. 19 Lavion Mayes (23-9) faced off against Buffalo’s Nick Flannery (14-14).
Early in the match, Mayes scored two points and the call was immediately put under review by the officials. The call was confirmed and the match resumed.
Mayes held the lead for most of the match, but Flannery brought the match within two points in the third period after landing a takedown. Mayes quickly followed that by pinning his opponent.
“I didn’t explode straight back up like I should have (during Flannery’s takedown),” Mayes said. “Once I got to my feet I knew I had to get my takedown and let this guy know ‘this was my match. This is who I am. I dominate.’ And that’s how I wanted to go out there and finish it.”
In the 149-pound match Missouri’s No. 1-ranked Drake Houdashelt (28-1) dominated Ryan Todoroa 18-5.
“Sometimes it can be boring,” Smith said jokingly. “(Houdashelt is) just dominating, and he’s beating everyone in the country. It is what we see everyday in the practice room, and nobody really wants to workout with Drake.”
Missouri had its second pin fall of the evening with the 157-pound match when Joey Lavallee (22-7) went against Buffalo’s Wally Maziarz (11-14). The match was stopped for a few minutes when Maziarz was injured, grabbing his leg as staff looked at his injury. He stayed in the match, but did not prevail as Lavellee pinned him, Lavelle’s sixth pin of the season.
“(Lavallee’s) a lot like Drake,” Smith said. “He’s physical and he has that motor and all of a sudden he has that explosiveness and just runs through you and pins people.”
Missouri’s No. 3-ranked J’den Cox (27-2) seemed a little disappointed that he did not get a pin in his match at 197. He shutout Angelo Malvestuto 9-0.
“Getting the shutout felt great,” Cox said. “I had goals that I set for myself throughout the match that I didn’t accomplish, and that’s what I need to work on. I had him in a cradle, I have to finish.”