Missouri wrestling made easy work of Buffalo during Friday’s annual Beauty and the Beauty dual at the Hearnes Center.
The Tigers won the first nine matches, including technical falls by sophomore Willie Miklus at 184 pounds and junior J’den Cox at 197 pounds, on the way to a 32-6 victory against the Bulls.
“Those guys wrestle; they score points,” said MU coach Brian Smith, who otherwise wasn’t thrilled with some tentativeness and mistakes that led to Buffalo takedowns despite the wide margin of victory.
Beauty and the Beast includes a simultaneous gymnastics dual, which Missouri also won.
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After five straight decisions to start the dual, freshman Daniel Lewis, a Blue Springs graduate, notched the Tigers’ first bonus points with an 11-2 major decision.
Lewis, who is ranked as high as sixth nationally, toyed with Bulls junior Rrok Ndokaj in the 165-pound bout, improving to 14-3 on the season.
Senior Blaise Butler, a transfer from Virginia, clinched the win for Missouri with an 8-2 victory at 174 pounds.
That’s when the fun really started.
Miklus led 14-4 against Buffalo’s Joe Ariola late in the match before securing a four-point near fall — a new rule in NCAA wrestling this season — and earning a technical fall with a riding-time bonus point.
“I think Willie gave up a takedown, but Willie always gives up a takedown in the match,” Smith said. “It drives me nuts, but he wrestles and he gets after it. … He has an identity. You know when Willie comes out there, there’s going to be offense.”
Meanwhile, Cox also won 19-4, wrapping up his technical fall only 37 seconds into the third period. He took down Buffalo’s James Benjamin only 20 seconds into the match and added three more second-period takedowns en route to a dominating win.
“I told J’den he has to score in the first 30 seconds, because know it’s basically over then if J’den’s scoring,” Smith said. “He just kept shooting and shooting. That kid has had close matches with some good people, but (Cox) blew it out of the water because he opened up. Nobody can hang with those guys when they’re executing like that.”
The Tigers were denied a shutout when freshman Jake Gunning pinned James Romero with 31 seconds left in the first period.
Missouri eased to a 15-0 lead with decisions by sophomore Barlow McGhee, junior Zach Synon, junior Cole Baumgartner, junior Lavion Mayes and senior LeRoy Barnes.
During the Beauty event, No. 23 Missouri gymnastics upset No. 15 Illinois 195.350-195.075. The Tigers’ score tied the highest for a season-opening event in program history with the 2004 squad.
Missouri’s dominance on the uneven bars and vault paved the way to victory.
The Tigers outscored the Fighting Illini by 0.350 points on the bars and by 0.275 on the vault.
Missouri had the top two vault scores thanks to sophomore Shauna Miller (9.850) and junior Angie Kern (9.725), while freshman Madeline Huber tied for third (9.700).
Freshman Britney Ward tied for first on the balance beam (9.850), but it was sophomore Kennedi Harris’ performance on the floor exercise during the final rotation that clinched the victory.
Harris tied for first on the floor with a 9.900.