MARKQUIS NOWELL’S HISTORIC NIGHT
Kansas State senior guard Markquis Nowell had a night to remember in his first game at Madison Square Garden. The New York native had 20 points, 19 assists and five steals. The 19 assists were a record for a player in an NCAA Tournament game and a career high for Nowell.
He admitted that it was a special game for him and gave a lot of credit to his K-State teammates for battling. He would not have any assists if his teammates did not make baskets. Having the best game of his tenure in his home city made it that much more memorable for him.
All five defenders have to keep both eyes on Nowell, which freed up some of his teammates.
Keyontae Johnson and Nowell have had amazing chemistry on lob plays throughout this season.
Kansas State started the game against Michigan State with an alley-oop, and with a minute remaining in a tie game, the two connected one more time. The K-State teammates made eye contact and Nowell threw it up and Johnson finished it with a reverse dunk.
The Spartans do a lot of ball watching on defense, which led to lots of baseline cuts for the Wildcats. The basketball IQ that they exhibited, paired with the chemistry between the two, were on full display in the most famous arena in the world.
Another New Yorker with a big night for Kansas State was Ish Massoud. In his first game at Madison Square Garden, he had 15 points and made four three-pointers. He also hit a big shot on the baseline to push K-State up three with 17 seconds remaining.
His Sweet 16 performance was surreal for him. He credits his Kansas State teammates for believing in him and giving him the shots. All that he has to do is knock it down. It still has not sunk in for the Spanish Harlem native.
The Wildcats are in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2018. It is the 14th appearance all-time for K-State. That ranks sixth in the NCAA. Unfortunately, they’ve lost in it seven consecutive times, most recently five years ago when they fell to Loyola Chicago.
It is a huge accomplishment. Winning in the NCAA Tournament is hard. Jerome Tang is happy because it means he gets to spend a few more days around his team. When a tournament run happens, you have to embrace it, enjoy it and take in the moment and soak it up before moving to the next game.
With that being said one, the next one is huge. But they’re taking everything and every day 1-0 and are thankful for the opportunity.