LINCOLN — James Green always has prided himself on being a great wrestler on his feet, but it was a move while on one foot that kept the Nebraska 157-pounder undefeated this season.
The fourth-ranked Green scored a nimble reverse in the second period against No. 19 Andy McCulley of Wyoming and held on for a 5-1 win Friday night at Devaney Center. It was one of No. 8 Nebraska's five consecutive victories to close a 26-12 win, keeping the Huskers (6-0) undefeated in duals .
Green, who improved to 19-0, was in a precarious position early in the second period against McCulley. The Wyoming junior started the second period on top and had Green by one leg when he shot for a takedown, but Green slipped away and scored two points.
Green said it was a move he had practiced so much in workouts that he can now usually anticipate when an opponent will attempt a single-leg move.
“It is a funky technique, and James has got a good feel for that position,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said. “He's been really working on that the last couple years. It's pretty dynamic.”
In his first meeting with McCulley two weeks ago in the championship match of the Reno Tournament of Champions, Green earned a 9-5 decision, but the Husker said he wanted to focus on being dominant on the floor in the rematch. Green scored another takedown in the third and added the extra point with a minute of riding time.
“What I want to do is get better on the mat wrestling and riding people, and eventually working for turns. The first match, I'd take him down and let him up. This one, I wanted to control the match, take him down, build the riding time and look for turns. I didn't get any, but fortunately riding time was good enough.”
Good enough was the sentiment Manning expressed for the evening's results, which saw Nebraska earn seven victories.
Robert Kokesh, the nation's fourth-rated 174-pounder, was the only Husker to earn a bonus-point win, beating Jace Jensen 19-4 for a technical fall. Kokesh scored six takedowns and had two near falls, but was one of only two NU grapplers to score back points in the dual.
“I want to see our guys challenged and want to see how they respond,” Manning said. “We had some guys wrestle pretty good and some guys wrestle sloppy.
“A lot of grinding it out. I didn't particularly like that. You've got to wrestle a little bit more inspired in some places.”
The Huskers' five-match run to end the dual was bookended by a pair of solid victories. At 149 pounds, No. 6 Jake Sueflohn defeated Brandon Richardson 4-0. In a matchup of top-20 wrestlers at 184 pounds, NU's No. 16 T.J. Dudley came back for a 9-6 win over No. 15 Benjamin Stroh.
Stroh scored a reversal to take a 4-3 lead early in the second period, but Dudley responded with a reversal and a two-point near fall to take control of the match. It was Dudley's second win over Stroh in the span of a month — the first came at a tournament in Las Vegas on Dec. 7.
“Dudley was impressive because of his effort he gave in the third period,” Manning said. “You're going to have to win a gritty, tough match. He didn't give up. He scrapped and fought and clawed. That's what you have to do against tough competitors.”
125 pounds: Tyler Cox, W, dec. Tim Lambert 3-1 SV. 133: Colton McCrystal, NU, won by forfeit. 141: Cole Mendenhall, W, pinned Ben Morgan, 6:11. 149: Jake Sueflohn, NU, dec. Brandon Richardson 4-0. 157: James Green, NU, dec. Andy McCulley 5-1. 165: Austin Wilson, NU, dec. Dakota Friesth 5-2. 174: Robert Kokesh, NU, tech. fall over Jace Jensen 19-4. 184: T.J. Dudley, NU, dec. Benjamin Stroh 9-6. 197: Shane Woods, W, dec. Spencer Johnson 4-3. HWT: Collin Jensen, NU, dec. Leland Pfeifer 8-3.
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Video: Highlights from Nebraska wrestling: