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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Men’s NCAA notebook: Kansas State advances to Elite Eight with overtime win over Michigan State

Kansas State’s Markquis Nowell puts up the final shot Thursday to advance past Michigan State to east region final on Saturday.  (Tribune News Service)
Tribune News Service

Tribune News Service

It was an NCAA Tournament game for the ages, but for Michigan State, it will simply be remembered as a bitter defeat.

The Spartans’ offense came to life on Thursday night, but defensive breakdowns and some huge shots from Kansas State ended the Spartans’ NCAA Tournament run at Madison Square Garden as Wildcats guard Markquis Nowell turned in another magnificent performance to lead No. 3 Kansas State to a 98-93 overtime victory over No. 7 Michigan State.

Kansas State (26-9) advances to the Elite Eight and a matchup Saturday with Florida Atlantic.

Hawkins, Huskies rout Arkansas to reach Elite Eight

Jordan Hawkins had slow starts in each of the UConn men’s basketball team’s first two NCAA tournament games.

But the sophomore guard was the model of consistency for the Huskies Thursday evening.

Hawkins finished with a game-high 24 points as fourth-seeded UConn topped No. 8 seed Arkansas 88-65 in the West Regional semifinals at T-Mobile Arena.

It’s the 12th time UConn (28-8) has reached the Elite Eight round of the tournament and first since 2014, the season the Huskies won their most recent national championship.

UConn plays No. 3 Gonzaga in the West Regional final Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

Michigan State (21-13) had five players score in double figures and shot 13-for-25 from 3-point range, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Nowell’s tournament-record 19 assists and a steal on Tyson Walker in the final seconds of overtime to seal the Wildcats’ victory.

A.J. Hoggard scored 25 points to lead the Spartans while Joey Hauser had 18 points and six rebounds. Walker scored 16, Jaden Akins added 14 and Malik Hall had 13 points and eight rebounds.

Nowell scored 20 to go with his assists while Keyontae Johnson scored 22, including a lob dunk inside a minute to play in overtime. Ismael Massoud added 15, including a big three late in regulation and the final shot that proved to seal the victory in overtime.

FAU gets upset win over Tennessee

When facing the physicality of fourth-seeded Tennessee, a team needs to just hang in and fight through a war of attrition to give itself a chance.

Ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic played that role to near-perfection on Thursday night in a Sweet 16 matchup at Madison Square Garden, beating the Vols, 62-55.

The Owls (34-3) face third-seeded Kansas State, a 98-93 winner over Michigan State in the earlier regional semifinal, in the Elite Eight Saturday.

The Owls withstood the Vols’ onslaught in the first half, never trailing by double-digits before taking control midway through the second half when they just couldn’t miss from 3-point range, making all five of their threes after halftime during a pivotal 7:54 stretch.

Florida Atlantic, which won its first NCAA Division I tournament game a week prior, is now 40 minutes away from the Final Four.