NEW YORK (AP) — 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, and 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 52 seconds left in OT to give the Wildcats (26-9) the lead for good in this back-and-forth East Region semifinal. He then threw an inbound pass to Ismael Massoud, who knocked down a jumper with 17 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.
Johnson scored 22 points for the No. 3 seed Wildcats, who will face either fourth-seeded Tennessee or ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic on Saturday as they seek the program’s first Final Four berth since 1964.
A.J. Hoggard scored a career-high 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.
UCONN 88, ARKANSAS 65
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jordan Hawkins scored 24 points and UConn routed Arkansas to reach the Elite Eight.
The fourth-seeded Huskies (28-8) have outscored their three March Madness opponents by a combined 62 points and will play either UCLA or Gonzaga on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four.
The Huskies never trailed and led by as many as 29 points. Adama Sanogo scored 18 points, Alex Karaban had 11 and Nahiem Alleyene added 10.
Anthony Black led Arkansas (22-14) with 20 points. Ricky Council IV had 17 and Nick Smith Jr. scored 11 as coach Eric Musselman fell one game short of taking the Razorbacks to a third consecutive Elite Eight.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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