Madison Square Garden— Alijah Martin poured in 17 points, including a huge trey in the waning seconds of the game, center Vladislav Goldin scored 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Michael Forrest hit four clutch free throws in the final 20 seconds for FAU, who held on to 79-76 win over Kansas State in front of a sold crowd of 19,690.
In the first half, FAU shot 53.6% (15-28) from the floor and 36.4% (4-11) from the downtown. Alijah Martin lead the way with 9 points with two steals.
The Owls were a beast on the boards, they out-rebounded K-State 22-9 with a lot of second shot chances which lead to easy points.
“Honestly, all the things people say just fuels us to go out there and play even harder,” said Bryan Greenlee, who poured in 16 points before fouling out. “They can say whatever they want, say we’re a Cinderella team, say we don’t belong, but we’ve constantly proven people wrong all season.”
The game went back and forth with several lead changes but the Wildcats were plagued by their poor performance on the foul line and couldn’t defend the three point line on a consistent basis.
Markquis Nowell, the Harlem put on a show again at Madison Square Garden, with 30 points, 12 assists, and five steals. In the Sweet 16, Nowell set the NCAA Tournament record with 19 assists in an overtime win against Michigan State. He didn’t get enough help from his supporting cast.
Nae’Qwan Tomlin was the only other player in double figures for Kansas State (26-10) with 14 points. Kevontae Johnson, the Wildcats’ leading scorer, fouled out with nine points and was limited due to his foul trouble early.
Cam Carter drain a deep three with 22.8 seconds left in regulation to trim FAU’s lead to 75-74 and Kansas State sent Forrest to the line with 17.9 seconds left. Forrest hit both to make it a three-point contest.
Nowell dribbled in the lane and dished to Tomlin inside the paint for a layup with 8.6 seconds left to cut the lead to one again, and again K-State sent Forrest to the line. With 6.9 remaining, he made them both.
With no timeouts left, Nowell pushed the ball down the court, pass the ball to Ismal outside the 3-point arc—he lost the ball. FAU’s Johnell Davis knocked the ball away and the time elapsed.
“I was trying to get Ish a shot,” Nowell said. “Coach wanted Ish to set the screen, and I waved it off because I felt like on the right side of the court, that’s where Ish hits most of his shots. And they closed out hard to him, and he didn’t get his shot off.”
Nowell was named the Most Outstanding Player of the region after his final collegiate game.
NAU will play the winner of San Diego State and Creighton game in the Final Four.