NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 25: Markquis Nowell #1 of the Kansas State Wildcats dribbles against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the second half in the Elite Eight round game of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 25, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York native Markquis Nowell showed up big time in his backyard of Madison Square Garden, but despite his best efforts it wasn’t enough as Kansas State fell to Florida Atlantic 79-76 in a classic Elite Eight game on Saturday night.

Florida Atlantic, the only Conference USA team in the tournament, advances to the program’s first ever Final Four.

Nowell was incredible for Kansas State as he willed his team in the second half.  The 5-foot-8 guard who played his high school ball at St. Anthony (Jersey City), Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn) and the Patrick School (Hillside, New Jersey), scored 30 points and shot 8-for-21 from the field including five three pointers.

When he hit his three’s he sent the Garden into a tizzy, especially when he drilled a three-pointer from NBA range that gave Kansas State a 55-50 lead.

Despite his efforts, Nowell missed a number of key shots down the stretch, and the Wild Cats couldn’t stay out of foul trouble.

Florida Atlantic grabbed the bull by the horns  and stromed back from a seven point deficit to take a 64-63 lead on a Vladislav Goldin slam dunk with 6:12 to play. The Owls never looked back as Michael Forrest hit some crucial free throws down the stretch.

The Owls await the winner of Creighton and San Diego State in the Final Four. Who would have guessed these three teams would be here when the tournament started.