Three takeaways from Kansas State’s overtime win against Michigan State in Sweet 16

Tribune Content Agency

NEW YORK — Nothing, it seems, can stop Markquis Nowell from leading the Kansas State men’s basketball team to greatness in this NCAA Tournament.

Not even an injury to his right ankle slowed him down during a 98-93 overtime victory over Michigan State in a Sweet 16 game on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Nowell had his third straight sensational game in March Madness, finishing with 20 points and 19 assists despite missing a two-minute stretch of the second half when he was unable to put any weight on his right foot following an injury suffered under the basket.

His 19 assists set a new single-game record for the NCAA Tournament. No one in the history of this event has had more assists in a game than Nowell. And he set the record while playing in his hometown. What a moment.

He fittingly tied the record with a lob dunk to Keyontae Johnson in overtime and then broke it with an inbounds pass to Ismael Massoud.

K-State survived a thrilling, back-and-forth game that was easily the most exciting game of March Madness thus far.

No lead was safe. Neither team held an advantage of more than nine points. They went toe to toe like a pair of boxers.

Nowell led the Wildcats, but he got lots of help. Keyontae Johnson had 22 points and Massoud delivered 15.

With the win, the Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight. They will play the winner of Tennessee and Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

Until then, here are some key takeaways from Thursday’s action:

Markquis Nowell continued his rampage through the bracket

Is anyone in all of college basketball playing at a higher level than Markquis Nowell right now?

That question can almost be asked rhetorically at this point. There is a very strong chance he would win MVP honors for the NCAA Tournament if that award was handed out after three rounds instead of six.

Nowell began March Madness hot with 17 points and 14 assists against Montana State. Then he backed that up with 27 points and nine rebounds. He was excellent once again vs. Michigan State, finishing the night with 20 points, 19 assists and five steals.

No one has been better than Nowell in March and he proved that once again on the biggest stage yet.

K-State shot the cover off the ball from three

It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that Nowell piled up so many assists in this game.

The Wildcats were draining every shot they looked at while he was getting them the ball, especially from three-point range.

That was particularly true in the first half when he had 10 assists and a whopping six different players made shots from three-point range. Massoud made two and Johnson, Cam Carter, Desi Sills, David N’Guessan and Nowell all made one.

It was one of the most impressive shooting performances of the entire NCAA Tournament. It was also unexpected given how poorly the Wildcast shot from beyond the arc in their first two games of March Madness.

They were ready to make shots inside Madison Square Garden and ended up 11 of 24 from beyond the arc.

Call him “Swish” Massoud

No one had a hotter shooting touch than K-State junior forward Ismael Massoud in this game.

The Harlem native drained three-pointers from all over the court and shot the Wildcats into the Elite Eight.

He made 4 of 6 shots from beyond the arc and finished with 15 points.

His fadeaway jumper in overtime was the decisive shot of the game. He is a big reason why the Wildcats survived and advanced.