San Francisco Chronicle
Nowell tallies record 19 assists in K-State’s win
NEW YORK — Markquis Nowell broke the NCAA Tournament record for assists in a game with 19, his last two on spectacular passes in the final minute of overtime, as Kansas State beat Michigan State 98-93 on Thursday night in a Sweet 16 thriller at Madison Square Garden.
Playing in his hometown and fighting through a second-half ankle injury, Nowell found Keyontae Johnson for a reverse alley-oop with 58 seconds left in OT to give the Wildcats (26-9) the lead for good in a back-and-forth East Region semifinal. He then threw an inbound pass to Ismael Massoud, who knocked down a jumper with 15 seconds left for a 96-93 lead.
With Michigan State needing a 3 to tie, Nowell stole the ball from the Spartans’ Tyson Walker and drove for a clinching layup at the buzzer. The 5-foot-8, Harlem-raised Nowell finished with 20 points and five steals in a signature performance at basketball’s most famous arena that drew tweets of praise from Patrick Mahomes and Kevin Durant.
“That was a legendary display of controlling a basketball game Markquis,” Durant tweeted.
Johnson scored 22 points for the No. 3 seed Wildcats.
A.J. Hoggard scored a careerhigh 25 points for seventh-seeded Michigan State (21-13). Joey Hauser added 18 points and Walker had 16, including a layup with 5 seconds left in regulation that forced the first overtime of this year’s NCAA Tournament.
UNLV’s Mark Wade had the previous NCAA tourney assists record with 18 during the Runnin’ Rebels 1987 Final Four win over Indiana.
Nowell turned his ankle early in the second half, was helped off the court and had it taped. Michigan State took the lead with him sidelined, and when he returned, he pushed off the ankle to bank in a 3-pointer that beat the shot clock and tied the game at 55-all.
Turns out he was just getting started.
CONNECTICUT 88, ARKANSAS 65
Jordan Hawkins scored 24 points to help the Huskies move one step away from the Final Four after a rout of of the Razorbacks in a Sweet 16 games played in Las Vegas.
Connecticut (28-8) played like a team capable of winning its fifth NCAA Tournament title and first since 2014. The Huskies have outscored their three March Madness opponents by 62 points.
The Huskies never trailed and led by as many as 29 points when they went up 62-33. Arkansas (22-14) answered with a 10-point run in just 27 seconds, but the outcome was never in doubt.
Connecticut, which has won nine of its past 10 games, shot 57.4 percent compared to 31.7 percent for Arkansas. The Huskies dominated inside by outrebounding the Razorbacks 43-31 and outscoring them 42-24 in the lane.