NEW YORK – Michigan State’s March Madness run continued at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, Thursday. They battled against the No. 3 seed Kansas State for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight, but fell 98-93.
The intensity was unmatched as both teams brought a tremendous crowd. In attendance supporting Michigan State were Spartan legends Steve Smith, Mateen Cleaves, Mel Tucker, and newly-minted Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia.
Both teams came out ready to play. The game started off fast-paced with MSU shooting 19 shots in the opening 10 minutes, however they weren’t able to capitalize on their shooting, only averaging 36.8% made shots.
“The only thing we did good early was offensive rebounds,” Spartan head coach Tom Izzo said during a timeout.
MSU out-rebounded the Wildcats five to one in the same timeframe.
Joey Hauser was one of the bright spots in the opening minutes for the Spartans, capitalizing on a couple made three-pointers early. Hauser made his 1,000 career point as a Spartan during the first half.
MSU took their first lead at around the eight minute mark. At the 7:20 mark, Tyson Walker got his first triple in the NCAA tournament before going back down on the defensive end and causing an offensive foul.
Turnovers plagued MSU late in the first half, picking up three turnovers in the same amount of trips up court. The Wildcats were able to capitalize on the turnovers by making a couple quick buckets and regaining the lead. Kansas State went on an 8-0 run before free throws by Hauser broke the Spartan scoring drought.
Markquis Nowell was proficient in finding his teammates throughout the first half picking up 10 of the team’s 14 assists in the first half. Kansas State ran a backdoor cut that Michigan State could not answer for. Nowell found Keyontae Johnson cutting baseline a couple times, just getting in behind Spartan post players. Nowell was showing why he is an All-American point guard.
The last minute before halftime was a frenzy of activity. Hoggard knocked down a three but Kansas State answered quickly with a quick layup. Sissoko picked up a three-point play the old fashioned way, but Kansas State followed it up with another made three. The teams entered the locker room with Kansas State up by a score of 43-38.
The second half started out pretty even. Both teams were playing a clean game, but MSU’s Carson Cooper picked up a couple quick fouls which took him back to the bench early. Kansas State’s Nowell went down about five minutes in, holding his ankle. A time out was called to assess his injury. Nowell played the entire 40 minutes against Kentucky, so they missed their leader while he was on the bench. MSU was able to take advantage of the personnel change and took the lead a couple minutes later after Hoggard drove the lane for a three-point play.
Nowell came back hobbling, but still creating offense for his team through his court awareness. He went on to set the regional, NCAA tournament, and school record for the most assists in a single game with 19.
MSU was down four with four minutes to go, and Tyson Walker made a defensive stop against Nowell who tried to drive the lane on a clearance from the rest of his team. Sills fouled out on a drive from Hoggard with three and a half to go. After the made free throws, Michigan State was within five of Kansas State. A Jaden Akins triple brought it to within two a couple minutes later.
With 19.7 seconds left and Michigan State down by 2, Hauser got a defensive board following a miss from Nowell and Coach Izzo quickly called a time out. The ball was in Walker’s hands, and with 5 seconds left he drove the left lane and laid it in. Kansas State got a last second shot off but it was off the mark, and they headed into overtime at 82 all.
MSU took their first lead in overtime with a Walker three-pointer. Tied at 92 with a minute left in overtime, Nowell gave a beautiful alley-oop pass to Johnson who slammed it in backwards.
With 17.4 seconds left and Kansas State up by one, the Wildcats had the ball following a tip off of Hoggard’s fingertips. Both teams called timeouts, and the pressure of the moment was truly being felt. Massoud on the inbound got two on a baseline catch and shoot. Michigan State tried to get a shot off for the tie, but was unable to under the defensive pressure from the Wildcats.
With the turnover and easy last-second layup from Nowell, Kansas State won 98-93.
Michigan State’s season will come to an end at the Sweet Sixteen. Hoggard finished the game leading his team with 25 points, followed by Hauser with 18 and Walker with 16.