Markquis Nowell Mar 23, 2023; New York, NY, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guard Markquis Nowell (1) yells as he reacts in the game against the Michigan State Spartans in the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State point guard Markquis Nowell produced a game for the ages in Thursday’s Sweet 16 game against Michigan State.

Playing at Madison Square Garden, the New York-born Nowell had one of the greatest games in NCAA Tournament history, leading the Wildcats to a 98-93 win over the Spartans.

Nowell finished the game with 20 points and 19 assists. The 19 dimes broke an NCAA Tournament record, which was set by UNLV guard Mark Wade in his team’s semifinal loss to Indiana in 1987.

And Nowell didn’t simply rack up a lot of assists. The passes to set his teammates up were nothing short of dazzling.

And as great as Nowell’s passes were, the highlight of the game was a shot of his. With the shot clock expiring, Nowell chased down a loose ball. Quickly after gaining possession, he put up an off-balance three-pointer. It hit off of the glass and went in.

Fittingly, the game ended with Noel coming up with a steal, chasing the ball down and making a layup as time expired.

What made Nowell’s performance so epic is that he played much of the second half and overtime hurt, running with a clear limp. When Nowell was out of the game, immediately after he injured his ankle, Michigan State took over. When Nowell returned, even in his hobbled state, Kansas State instantly began running its offense more effectively.

Playing through pain was fitting, given that both Isiah Thomas and Kirk Gibson, who both famously played through pain in the 1988 NBA Finals and World Series respectively, were on hand.

The Isiah Thomas connection was particularly relevant given that, like Thomas, Nowell was a guard trying to lead his team to a victory with a severe injury.

His otherwordly performance was noted by college basketball fans everywhere, with several noting the parallels with Thomas.

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