Markquis Nowell celebrates a basket at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.Elsa/Getty Images
New York City native Markquis Nowell set an NCAA men’s tournament record with 19 assists during Kansas State’s Sweet 16 overtime win Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Nowell fought through a mid-game ankle injury to rack up 20 points, including a buzzer-beating layup that sealed the 98-93 victory over Michigan State and sent Kansas State to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2018.
“This is one was special, in front of my hometown, in front of the city that loves me,” Nowell told reporters after the game. “I can’t even put into words how blessed and grateful I am.”
“This one was special in front of my hometown, in front of the city that loves me. I can’t even put into words how blessed and grateful I am”
– NYC-born Markquis Nowell on his 19-assist performance at MSG tonight pic.twitter.com/EcMU8ZvTxE
At 5-foot-8, Harlem native Nowell says he lives by a “heart over height” motto, where passion matters more than stature.
He seemed to prove that on Thursday, when he had to be helped to the sideline after rolling his ankle during the second half of the game. Trainers quickly wrapped the ankle, and Nowell spent minutes limping on the sideline.
Then Nowell returned to the court and, to his hometown crowd’s applause, almost immediately hit a three-pointer.
In fact, the most memorable highlights of this career performance came after the injury. During overtime, with the game tied and less than a minute left, Nowell fed Keyontae Johnson with his 18th assist of the night for a reverse alley-oop that brought Kansas State ahead, 94-92.
CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 @CBSSportsCBB
MARKQUIS NOWELL TIES THE NCAA RECORD 18 ASSISTS ON THIS FEED TO KEYONTAE JOHNSON 🤩 @KStateMBB pic.twitter.com/R3V53W8wmO
After Michigan State climbed to within one point of tying the game, Nowell fed Ismael Massoud for a baseline jumper to bring the Wildcats ahead, 96-93, with only 17 seconds remaining. This assist, Nowell’s 19th of the game, beat out Mark Wade’s 18 assists for UNLV during the 1987 Final Four, for the NCAA tournament record since assists became official in 1984.
To top off his historic evening, Nowell made his fifth steal of the night and scored on a layup to clinch the Wildcats’ 98-93 win and complete a performance which will go down in NCAA tournament history.
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