The Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's tournament got off to a dramatic start as the No. 3 seed Kansas State Wildcats needed overtime to defeat the No. 7 seed Michigan State Spartans 98-93.
MSU entered the break down by five but outscored KSU 44-39 in the second half. A game-tying basket by Spartans guard Tyson Walker with six seconds left in regulation helped Michigan State force overtime. It was the first OT game of this year's tournament, and Wildcats guard Markquis Nowell willed his team to an Elite Eight appearance with four points and a game-clinching steal in the extra frame.
Nowell put on a gutsy performance, finishing with 20 points, 19 assists and 5 steals on an injured ankle. He suffered the injury in the second half and left the game temporarily before returning to the court. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Nowell's 19 dimes are an NCAA tournament single-game record since assists became an official stat in 1984. Furthermore, Nowell scored or assisted on 63 of Kansas State's 98 points, the most points created by a player since ESPN started tracking the stat in 2010.
Kansas State's victory over Michigan State sends the school to its first Elite Eight since 2018. It awaits the winner of the Florida Atlantic-Tennessee game.
The contest between the Spartans and the Wildcats was the talk of sports Twitter, as plenty of stars offered their thoughts on the thrilling finish.
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Nowell, who is from Harlem, lived up to his nickname, "Mr. New York City," with his sensational performance at Madison Square Garden. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who played through an ankle injury during the NFL playoffs, shouted out Nowell during the game.
Channeling some Mahomes magic ✨#KStateMBB x @PatrickMahomes https://t.co/FcMp5A97Hj— K-State Men's Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 24, 2023
After the contest, Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and more took to Twitter to give the guard his flowers.
That was a legendary display of controlling a basketball game Markquis. GG's— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) March 24, 2023
Markquis Nowell Ladies & gentleman!— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) March 24, 2023
Don't Stop!! @MrNewYorkCityy
Congratulations to Kansas State men's basketball team and especially point guard Markquis Nowell for becoming the NCAA Tournament record holder for assists in a game with 19 assists and 20 points.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 24, 2023
Regardless Of Result... This Dude Nowell For K-State Is Ice Cold ❄️— 🦅MaddMaxx🦅 (@CrosbyMaxx) March 24, 2023
Big time shot nowell!!— Tyler Lockett (@TDLockett12) March 24, 2023
I am a fan!!!! @MrNewYorkCityy— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) March 24, 2023
rooting for MARKQUIS NOWELL only for the rest of the tournament 😂— Lexie Brown (@Lexiebrown) March 24, 2023
K-State fans rn 🔥#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ulHzb4CR0T— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 24, 2023
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.