Joe Heilmann started the afternoon strong with his second win in as many days. The freshman came out firing against Pittsburgh’s Brandon Fenton and began cutting for a major decision in the second period. He ultimately won with bonus points, a 12-3 win to kick off the day for Carolina (10-5, 2-0 ACC).
No. 5 Micky Phillippi topped Gary Wayne Harding next in a back-and-forth 8-4 decision. After that, the Panthers (8-3, 0-2 ACC) built more momentum with a major decision at 141 pounds. Those two wins turned the tide a bit, but O’Connor was able to swing things back in Carolina’s direction in the next match.
Against Robert Lee, O’Connor commanded the first period and carried the strong outing through the first break. One minute and 25 seconds into the period, he found a way to get Lee onto his back and stick him for his second pin in less than 24 hours. The win via fall gave Carolina a 10-7 lead in the team score.
No. 12 Taleb Rahmani held on through a tight 157-pound bout to pick up a decision before intermission, but Sawyer Davidson’s 9-4 win over Curtis Decker quickly shifted momentum once again in UNC’s direction.
Devin Kane won a 6-3 decision at 174, but Pittsburgh fought back and won at 184 and 197 to tie things up heading into the final match of the afternoon. In that bout, Daniel found a way to stun the home crowd.
Down 5-1 in the third period, Daniel found himself down 5-3 after a penalty point and an escape with less than a minute to go in the period. The redshirt senior then scored on a late takedown and finished the ride-out, sending the match to overtime. There, with time running down in sudden victory, Daniel got to a leg and finished a takedown, silencing Fitzgerald Field House and sending the Tar Heels home winners, 19-16.
North Carolina will return to the mat next weekend at home on February 8 against Virginia Tech. The match is set for 6 p.m.
125: Joe Heilmann (UNC) maj. dec. Brandon Fenton (PITT), 12-3 – UNC leads 4-0
133: #5 Micky Phillippi (PITT) dec. Gary Wayne Harding (UNC), 8-4 – UNC leads 4-3
141: LJ Bentley (PITT) maj. dec. Jaime Hernandez (UNC), 10-2 – Pitt leads 7-4
149: #4 Austin O’Connor (UNC) pinned Robert Lee (PITT), 4:25 – UNC leads 10-7
157: #12 Taleb Rahmani (PITT) dec. Josh McClure (UNC), 5-3 – Tied 10-10
165: Sawyer Davidson (UNC) dec. Curtis Decker (PITT), 9-4 – UNC leads 13-10
174: Devin Kane (UNC) dec. Gregg Harvey (PITT), 6-4 – UNC leads 16-10
184: #12 Nino Bonaccorsi (PITT) dec. #14 Chip Ness (UNC), 7-5 – UNC leads 16-13
197: Kellan Stout (PITT) dec. Brandon Whitman (UNC), 4-0 – Tied 16-16
285: Cory Daniel (UNC) dec. #13 Demetrius Thomas (PITT), 7-5 (SV-1) – UNC wins 19-16