Michigan State falls to Kansas State in NCAA Tournament OT thriller

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — It was an NCAA Tournament game for the ages, but for Michigan State, it will simply be remembered as a bitter defeat.

The Spartans’ offense came to life on Thursday night, but defensive breakdowns and some huge shots from Kansas State ended the Spartans’ NCAA Tournament run at Madison Square Garden as Wildcats guard Markquis Nowell turned in another magnificent performance to lead No. 3 Kansas State to a 98-93 overtime victory over No. 7 Michigan State.

Kansas State (26-9) advances to the Elite Eight and a matchup Saturday with either Tennessee or Florida Atlantic.

Michigan State (21-13) had five players score in double figures and shot 13-for-25 from 3-point range, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Nowell’s tournament-record 19 assists and a steal on Tyson Walker in the final seconds of overtime to seal the Wildcats’ victory.

A.J. Hoggard scored 25 points to lead the Spartans while Joey Hauser had 18 points and six rebounds. Walker scored 16, Jaden Akins added 14 and Malik Hall had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Nowell scored 20 to go with his assists while Keyontae Johnson scored 22, including a lob dunk inside a minute to play in overtime. Ismael Massoud added 15, including a big three late in regulation and the final shot that proved to seal the victory in overtime.

The pace was fast in the early going, even if the shots weren’t falling for Michigan State. However, the Spartans overcame a 1-for-7 start, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Hauser and another from Akins to tie the game at 17 before they took their first lead, 19-18, on a Hauser jumper with 8:04 left in the first half.

A Walker 3-pointer helped push the lead to 22-18 and it remained a four-point lead after a dazzling layup from Walker and a pair of free throws from Hauser. However, the Spartans couldn’t maintain the momentum as turnovers from Hoggard and Hall helped spark an 8-0 run for the Wildcats, giving them a 30-26 lead with four minutes to play in the half.

It went back and forth from there, but Kansas State got two more 3-pointers – it was 7-for-12 in the first half – and outscored Michigan State, 21-12, over the final 5:31 of the half to take a 43-38 lead to the locker room.

Kansas State kept things rolling early in the second half, pushing its lead to 47-38 by scoring the first four points. But Michigan State began to claw back into the game, taking advantage of an injury to Nowell before eventually grabbing the lead at 54-52 on a runner from Hoggard. His free throw made it a three-point game as the Wildcats responded with five straight points to take the lead back.

But an Akins 3-pointer and a Hall layup put Michigan State up, 60-57, with 11:25 to play as the back-and-forth continued.

Kansas State scored four in a row to take the lead as the advantage changed hands over the next five possessions. Walker and Hauser then hit back-to-back triples, but Kansas State answered by scoring the next 10 points to take a 77-70 lead with 4:44 to play.

Walker answered with a 3-pointer and Hoggard hit two free throws to get the Spartans within two, but Massoud then nailed his deep triple. Akins then hit a three and Hall got a put-back to bring MSU within two. After a stop, Walker scored on a runner to tie the game with five seconds to play and Nowell’s last shot came up short to force overtime.

The battle continued in overtime with Michigan State going up, 87-84, on a Walker triple. But Kansas State scored the next four to take the lead as it went back and forth from there, ending up tied at 92 with 1:29 to play.

Nowell threw a lob to Johnson to put Kansas State up two and Hall split a pair of free throws with 42.8 left to leave Michigan State behind, 94-93. The Wildcats then got another huge bucket from Massoud with 12.5 to play and Walker’s final shot never got off as Nowell swiped it and went in for a layup as the buzzer sounded.