In what can only be described as an instant-classic Sweet 16 game at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, No. 3 seed Kansas State beat No. 7 seed Michigan State, 98-93, in overtime Thursday evening.
It was a high-scoring, dramatic affair in which both teams continually matched each other’s punches. Kansas State point guard Markquis Nowell was the best player on the court, just as he was against Kentucky in the Round of 32. Nowell maintained his wizardry throughout the game despite sustaining an ankle injury in the second half.
Michigan State fought and clawed all game, but came up just short in the final seconds of overtime.
With the win, Kansas State will move on to face the winner of No. 4 seed Tennessee and No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic in the Elite Eight. Michigan State’s season ends in New York City.
“I give a lot of credit to Kansas State, they made some big plays down the stretch, they made some big plays early,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “I’ve been a part of a lot of big wins and I’ve been a part of a lot of tough losses, (but) I’ve never been prouder of a team. We didn’t have our game tonight. (In the first half), we were ham-and-egging it and we were just kind of fighting through it. We just kept fighting.
“We played our butt off. To bounce back after what we were shooting and shoot almost 50 percent from the field and 52 (percent) from three, 82 (percent) from the line, outrebounded them – the game was lost with the 16 points off turnovers they got compared to our twos. Turnovers were one of the things that we were concerned with. And then those timely shots they hit.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Joey Hauser scored 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He scored his 1,000th career point as a Spartan on a three-pointer in the first half.
“Ty (Walker) was struggling early, Joey was hot,” Izzo said. “A.J. was just in the middle of it. A.J. really came along late, then Ty did, then Joey did. I’m just proud of them. I’m proud of them, and I don’t say that about a lot of teams – what they’ve done in the last couple of weeks, how they’ve grown.”
Malik Hall added 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench, shooting 5-of-8 from the field.
Michigan State outrebounded Kansas State, 37-31, but logged 13 turnovers to Kansas State’s five. Kansas State scored 16 points off of those turnovers. The Wildcats shot 56 percent from the field (46 percent from three), while Michigan State shot 49 percent from the field (52 percent from three – 13-of-25, a step up from its two prior tourney games).
Nowell scored 20 points and added 19 assists, the most in an NCAA Tournament game. He logged only two turnovers.
After Hall split a pair of free throws down two points in overtime, Nowell pulled up from the logo leading 94-93 with :17.4 seconds to play. The shot initially appeared to miss everything and bounce out of bounds to Michigan State, but the referees gave the ball to Kansas State. After a review, it was confirmed that Hoggard got a finger on the ball as Nowell released it from his hands.
Multiple timeouts were called on the ensuing Kansas State possession before Nowell found Massoud in the corner for three off a baseline out-of-bounds play, giving Kansas State a 96-93 lead with :12.5 seconds left.
Michigan State passed up multiple three-point chances on their final possession before the ball ended up in Walker’s hands with the clock dwindling, but Nowell stripped Walker and took the ball to the other end of the court for a buzzer-beating layup to seal the 98-93 win.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED I
Michigan State went on a 12-5 run over the last 4:36 of the second half to send the game to overtime.
Hoggard took matters into his own hands over that stretch, assisting on a Walker three-pointer that cut Kansas State’s lead to four, 77-73, with 4:36 to play.
Three Michigan State stops later, Hoggard got the ball back and drove to the rim, drawing a foul. Hoggard converted both free throws to make it 77-75 Kansas State with 3:24 to play.
The Spartans and Wildcats each scored five points over the next :44 seconds. Then, with Kansas State up 82-80, Nowell missed a three-pointer from the logo with :26 seconds left that would have sealed the game. Hauser corralled the rebound and Michigan State called a timeout.
Walker got the ball out of the huddle and drove to the basket, flipping a shot over his defender to tie the game at 82 with five seconds to go. Nowell nearly got a game-winning layup to go on the other end, but it fell just short, sending the game to overtime.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED II
After Hauser missed the front end of a one-and-one with 5:54 left, Kansas State turned a loose ball under their rim into a kickout to Massoud for a 3-pointer.
After Akins was called for traveling, Izzo looked at the sophomore and shook his head. Izzo has been trying to curtail Akins’ excessive ball handling for several games. That turnover proved costly as Tomlin slipped to the rim on a screen-and-slip, missed the shot, but hit the put-back as Hall failed to own the defensive rebound.
That made it 77-70 and Izzo was trying to call time out when Walker came open for a 3-pointer from the right corner, which cut it to 77-73. Izzo got his time out with 4:34 left.
Akins made up for his earlier error when he blocked Nowell’s shot off a drive attempt. Michigan State put Akins on Nowell as the primary defender with 5:45 to go. On this occasion, K-State called for Nowell to attack the sophomore from the left wing on a clearout. But Akins stood strong against crossover and between-the-legs feints.
When Nowell went up with the shot, Akins blocked it, leading to a held ball, and possession arrow to Michigan State.
Two possessions later, Hoggard cut the lead to 77-75 with a pair of free throws with 3:24 left.
But Massoud nailed another 3-pointer, his fourth of the game at that point, from NBA range beyond the top of the key, giving Kansas State an 80-75 lead with 3:07 left, as Izzo put hands on both knees and stared at the floor.
NOWELL GOES DOWN, MSU FIGHTS BACK
Kansas State led 50-46 with 15:31 to play when Nowell went down with what appeared to be an injured right ankle. He laid on the court for more than a minute after suffering the injury and was helped off the court.
He sat out for 2:20 and Michigan State went on an 8-2 run during that time, with Hall hitting a hook shot in the lane and Hoggard hitting a pair of driving lay-ups while getting fouled. He went 1-of-2 on those and-one opportunities as Michigan State took a 54-52 lead with 13:11 left.
Nowell didn’t seem to be at full speed, but he still possessed some magical ability after the injury. With the shot clock down under :01 second, he scrambled for a loose ball and flung the ball toward the rim from 3-point range. It went in and tied the score at 55-55 as Izzo looked to the ceiling in disbelief.
After K-State tied the game at 55-55, the lead changed hands nine times over the next six minutes. Hauser gave Michigan State a 70-67 lead with 7:53 left with a 3-pointer from the right corner off a drive-and-kick from Walker.
But the Wildcats immediately tied it at 70-70 on a 3-pointer from Carter with 7:33 left.
Kansas State took its biggest lead to that point in the game at 33-28 with 2:58 left in the first half when Nowell hit a second-chance 3-pointer from the right wing.
Seconds earlier, Michigan State center Mady Sissoko had position for a defensive rebound and it appeared that omlin was over Sissoko’s back for a foul, but nothing was called and Sissoko failed to win the wrestling match for the rebound. Tomlin owned the offensive rebound and fed Nowell for the 3.
Michigan State held a 16-10 edge in rebounding at that point, but that second-chance 3-pointer was a big momentum boost for the Wildcats.
Massoud gave the Wildcats their biggest lead of the first half at 38-32 with a 3-pointer from the left wing off a quick flare screen. Nowell set him up from the right side and fired a one-handed dime to him across the court in an instant.
“That’s your guy, Joey!” Izzo yelled out to Hauser after that play.
Michigan State cut the lead to 40-38 on an and-one by Sissoko. From the blitz counterbreak, Sissoko finished a dunk while being fouled with :42 left in the half.
THE FIRST HALF
Michigan State took its first lead at 19-18 when Hauser backed Johnson into the paint and hit a fall-away glasser from 12 feet with 8:04 left in the first half.
Kansas State went on an 8-0 run to take a 30-26 lead with 3:46 left in the first half. Massoud began the run with a 3-pointer on a pick-and-pop from Nowell.
Then Nowell fed Johnson and Tomlin on a pair of back cuts for lay-ups. Johnson was fouled on his and hit the and-one as Michigan State became tasked with protecting against back door cuts.
Izzo angrily corrected Akins on the Johnson back cut with 4:43 left in the first half.
Kansas State out-short Michigan State 53.8 percent to 36.8 percent through the first 10 minutes, but Michigan State used five offensive rebounds to knot the game at 17-17 midway through the first half.
Both teams were 3-of-6 from 3-point range through the first 10 minutes of the game with Hauser hitting two of them and Akins nailed one from the left wing to tie the score at 17-17.