The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 7th

Tar Heel Wrestlers Roll Over Cavs

Usually, those sports don't include wrestling.

But don't tell that to North Carolina

(5-4, 2-0 in the ACC), which continued its march toward a fifth consecutive ACC championship with a tidy 24-12 victory against Virginia (4-6, 1-2) on Saturday.

For the second time in two ACC matchups, UNC used the momentum of a last-second takedown to propel itself to victory.

Junior Brad Byers faced Virginia's Joe Alexander in the 133-pound weight class with UNC leading 8-0. Byers struggled through the first two periods, trailing 7-2 with one period remaining.

The recipe for a comeback, though, was not gourmet.

"I knew I had to get a takedown," Byers said. "And then I had to get out and get another one. I couldn't get them all at once, so I had to get them one at a time."

With 30 seconds remaining, Byers still trailed 9-7, but Alexander was gasping for air. Though his wrestler trailed, North Carolina coach Bill Lam knew Byers was prepared for this situation.

"We're in pretty good shape," Lam said. "And if it comes down to the end, I like to think our conditioning will make a difference."

With seven seconds left, Byers pounced on Alexander, performing his third takedown of the period and tying the match 9-9.

He rolled over Alexander, putting him on his back and earning two points for a near fall with four seconds left in the match. Byers won 11-9.

UNC's strong start and the performance of its stalwarts, Corey Bell (174) and JohnMark Bentley (149), allowed it to overcome an injury to Jake Reynolds (165), which gave the Cavaliers six points.

Bell and Bentley each won with ease, 10-1 and 10-3, respectively.

"JohnMark and Corey stay the same. Those guys are doing a good job," Lam said.

The most dominant performance of the match came from redshirt freshman Chris Collins in the 125-pound weight class.

He won 17-2 against Ryan Stewart, who was forced to take a long look at the ceiling of Carmichael Auditorium during the third period.

Because the margin of victory exceeded 14, the win earned the Tar Heels five points, giving them an 8-0 lead heading into Byers' dramatic match.

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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