By Northwestern Athletics
EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern completed an incredible comeback to defeat Michigan State Friday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 23-21.
The Wildcats needed bonus points in each of the final three matches of the night to guarantee at least a tie with the Spartans. With the ‘Cats down 21-10, Mitch Sliga, Jacob Berkowitz and Conan Jennings were up to the challenge. They got the points they needed and then some.
Sliga kicked things off with an 11-2 major decision over Wesley Maskill at 184 lbs. to cut the deficit to 21-14. Berkowitz then won by the same margin at 197 over Matt Okaiye to make it just a three-point match. It was the team-leading 18th win for Berkowitz, as he continues to climb in the national polls, reaching as high as 15th this week. He has won seven of his last nine overall.
Heavyweight Conan Jennings finished things off with a dominant 15-0 tech fall of Jacob Cooper to give Northwestern its winning 23-21 margin.
The win gave head coach Matt Storniolo his first Big Ten victory, and the team its first win in the conference since Feb. 23, 2015, a 26-18 win over Maryland.
The Wildcats improved to 6-3 (1-2) on the season.
Jason Ipsarides got the match started right for the Wildcats with a win by fall at 133 lbs. over Austin Eicher to make the score 6-3.
The Spartans then took four of the next five to make the score 21-10 before Sliga, Berkowitz and Jennings brought it home for Northwestern.
The home stretch continues for Northwestern next weekend when Michigan comes to town for a 2 p.m. dual on Sunday, Jan. 22. That match will be televised live on Big Ten Network.
Northwestern 23, Michigan State 21
125: Logan Griffin (MSU) dec. Anthony Rubinetti (NU), 11-7 [MSU 3, NU 0]
133: Jason Ipsarides (NU) Fall Austin Eicher (MSU), 6:29 [NU 6, MSU 3]
141: #17 Javier Gasca (MSU) maj. dec. Alec McKenna (NU), 11-3 [MSU 7, NU 6]
149: Shayne Oster (NU) maj. dec. Nick Trimble, 12-2 [NU 10, MSU 7]
157: Austin Thompson (MSU) Fall Ben Sullivan (NU), 6:29 [MSU 13, NU 10]
165: #14 Drew Hughes (MSU) maj. dec. Johnny Sebastian (NU), 11-0 [MSU 17, NU 10]
174: Drew Barnes (MSU) maj. dec. Braxton Cody (NU), 14-3 [MSU 21, NU 10]
184: #20 Mitch Sliga (NU) maj. dec. Wesley Maskill (MSU), 11-2 [MSU 21, NU 14]
197: #15 Jacob Berkowitz (NU) maj. dec. Matt Okaiye (MSU), 11-2 [MSU 21, NU 18]
285: Conan Jennings (NU) Tech Fall Jacob Cooper (MSU), 15-0 [NU 23, MSU 21]