STILLWATER — Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith wants nothing more than an aggressive style from every wrestler in his lineup.
It sounds simple, but through nine duals this season, the ninth-ranked Cowboys were yet to deliver the sort of performance Smith is looking for.
That changed on Friday night as OSU defeated No. 10 Missouri, 28-6, inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“I think one of the things a team can struggle with is the way you want them to wrestle,” Smith said. “Our style is to go for it, put pressure on people, score points, and then keep scoring. Sometimes the athletes will have a tough time with being that aggressive, so I'm glad we got a little bit closer tonight to what we're looking for.”
OSU (6-4) took eight of the 10 matches from the Tigers, including bonus-point wins from Eddie Klimara (125 pounds), Tyler Caldwell (165 pounds), Chris Perry (174 pounds), and Jordan Rogers (184 pounds).
“I think the thing that we did today was work through some tough situations,” Smith said. “(Klimara) scored late in the first period, and was struggling to score, but then stretched his lead out and ended up getting the major decision. We hadn't been doing that.”
Perry, a defending national champion currently ranked No. 2 at 174 pounds, scored a last-second takedown to earn an 11-3 major decision over No. 18 Mikey England.
“It's important to stay aggressive the whole match,” Perry said. “Not necessarily for the bonus points, but for me mentally finding a way to dominate people. Better tonight, but still a lot of areas I've got to work on. I think I'll be where I want to be at the right time if I continue to work.”
Smith called the Cowboys' performance their best this year as they improved to a season-best two wins over .500.
“We've lost some close duals this year, but now is the time we need to really make that jump as a team,” Perry said. “I saw a lot of progress tonight. (Klimara) for instance, I thought that's the best he's looked in a long time. He's starting to figure it out and working hard. And (Anthony) Collica, he's a freshman pulling out a win against a guy who has beat him already this year. Those are the guys that are going to make the difference for us.”
Missouri (6-2), coming off an 18-15 upset over No. 6 Oklahoma on Thursday night, got its only wins from top-ranked Drake Houdashelt at 149 pounds and sixth-ranked J'den Cox at 197 pounds.
OSU returns to action next weekend, hosting Cal State-Bakersfield at 4 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 8) and Bedlam rival Oklahoma at 2 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 9). Both duals will be at Gallagher-Iba Arena.