Mar 24, 2023 - Sports

NCAA Tournament: Hometown heroes

nowell and strawther side by side

Markquis Nowell and Julian Strawther. Photos:Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images; Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Two hometown kids played the hero on Thursday night, lifting their teams to victory and into the Elite Eight.

New York — Kansas State 98, Michigan State 93 (OT): New York native Markquis Nowell had the performance of a lifetime, scoring 20 points and dishing out an NCAA Tournament-record 19 assists (!) in one of the best basketball games you'll ever see.

  • 🍿 Highlight: With the game tied 92-92, Nowell threw a no-look alley-oop to a cutting Keyontae Johnson, who finished with a reverse dunk.
  • Flashback: The Wildcats were picked to finish last in the Big 12. Instead, they'll play in their third Elite Eight since 2010.

Las Vegas — Gonzaga 79, UCLA 76: Vegas native Julian Strawther hit a deep three in the final seconds on a play inspired by Villanova's title-winning shot in 2016 to break UCLA's heart (again).

  • Man of the match: Drew Timme (36 points, 16-24 FG) scored 20+ points in an NCAA Tournament game for the 10th time in his career, a new record.
  • Flashback: The Zags beat the Bruins in similar fashion in the 2021 Final Four, with Jalen Suggs hitting a deep three at the buzzer. It's all revenge for that time UCLA made Adam Morrison cry.


  • FAU 62, Tennessee 55: Florida Atlantic is just the fourth team since the field expanded in 1985 to reach the Elite Eight after entering the year with no tourney wins, joining Gonzaga (1999), George Mason (2006) and Saint Peter's (2022).
  • UConn 88, Arkansas 65: The Huskies are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2014. The last two times they got there, they won the national championship.
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