In an unforgettable Sweet 16 matchup that required overtime to settle, No. 3 Kansas State emerged victorious over No. 7 Michigan State with the help of Markquis Nowell’s outstanding performance. Playing in his hometown of New York City, Nowell shattered records with 19 assists, the most ever in an NCAA tournament game, in addition to 20 points and five steals. Throughout the game, Nowell dazzled the crowd with his incredible passing skills, delivering one highlight-reel play after another. His game-sealing steal in the final seconds secured K-State’s spot in the Elite Eight, where they will take on the winner of Florida Atlantic-Tennessee.
Nowell Did It All Down The Stretch
The game-winning play came from Nowell, who connected with Keyontae Johnson for a reverse alley-oop with just 52 seconds left in overtime, securing the lead for the Wildcats (26-9) for the remainder of the game. Nowell then demonstrated his impressive court vision once again by throwing an inbound pass to Ismael Massoud, who drained a jumper with 17 seconds left, extending K-State’s lead to 96-93. With Michigan State desperately in need of a 3-pointer to tie the game, Nowell stepped up to the occasion once more, stealing the ball from Tyson Walker and sealing the Wildcats’ victory with a layup at the buzzer.
Despite the loss, A.J. Hoggard delivered an impressive performance for seventh-seeded Michigan State (21-13), scoring a career-high 25 points. Joey Hauser also made an impact, contributing 18 points, while Tyson Walker added 16, including a clutch layup with just 5 seconds left in regulation, forcing the first overtime of this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Nowell’s outstanding 19 assists broke the previous NCAA tourney record of 18, held by UNLV’s Mark Wade during the Runnin’ Rebels’ 1987 Final Four win over Indiana.
THE NYC NATIVE SHOWED OUT IN THE GARDEN!!!!
Markquis Nowell breaks the record for most assists in a tournament game (19) on the most important bucket of the night 🥶pic.twitter.com/rhsy7pCA7y
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 24, 2023
New York Natives Propel Kansas State
Nowell faced a setback early in the second half when he turned his ankle and had to be helped off the court for treatment. During his absence, Michigan State took the lead, but upon his return, Nowell persevered through the pain and sank a crucial 3-pointer that beat the shot clock, tying the game at 55-all.
Nowell’s steady hand on the ball proved to be instrumental in Kansas State’s offense, finding Massoud for a clutch 3-pointer that made it 80-75 and hitting a jumper with only 1:07 left, marking the Wildcats’ final basket of regulation.
Massoud, who also grew up playing hoops in Harlem, contributed 15 points for the Wildcats. K-State shot an impressive 55.9% from the field, becoming only the second team this season to shoot better than 50% against the Spartans. Cam Carter added 12 points to round out the Wildcats’ balanced scoring effort.