History in the making: Owls down Kansas State 79-76 in Elite Eight

FAU defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 79-76 in the Elite 8 Saturday night, becoming just the third 9-seed to advance to the Final Four in tournament history.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

NEW YORK CITY — Preseason, there were four teams polled to finish ahead of FAU men’s basketball (35-3, 18-2 C-USA) in Conference USA. Now, they are one of four teams left competing for a national championship.

On Saturday, March 25, the Owls defeated the Kansas State University Wildcats 79-76, becoming just the third 9-seed to make the Final Four in NCAA Tournament history. 

The 3-point victory, in which they were 2-point underdogs, is the latest stride of an unprecedented run through the tournament which will now head to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. It also marks their 35th overall victory on the season, which ranks the most in the nation—the University of Houston, who feel in the Sweet 16, follows with 34.

FAU was led by sophomore guard Alijah Martin, who finished the night with 17 points and 4 rebounds, as the Owls notched their second straight victory at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Kansas State’s All-American guard Markquis Nowell, who broke the NCAA Tournament assist record a night ago, finished the game with a statline of 30 points and 12 rebounds. 

Nowell, who grew up a couple miles from the Garden in Harlem, NY, had the Wildcats just three points away from their first trip to the Final Four since 1964. 

However, it was Martin’s performance and the Owls who were the story of the night, as they advanced to the Final Four for the first time in program history. They join the University of Pennsylvania, who did it in 1979, and Wichita State University, who did it in 2013, as the only 9-seeds in tournament history to make it past the regional rounds.

FAU will now travel to Houston for the national semifinal at NRG Stadium against either Crieghton or San Diego State on Saturday, April 1.

Cameron Priester is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron