- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

OKLAHOMA CITY When an Englishman makes a big shot, it's usually on the soccer field, not the basketball courts of the NCAA tournament. But consider California freshman Richard Midgley a hoops pioneer.
Midgley, who grew up in Burgess Hill, England, swished a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in overtime yesterday, sending the Golden Bears to a 76-74 win over N.C. State in the first round of the East Region.
The Wolfpack had just taken a 74-73 lead on Scooter Sherrill's 3-pointer with 12.8 seconds left when Midgley took a pass from Joe Shipp. With the calm of a soccer forward in a World Cup shootout, Midgley buried the shot.
"Guys used to pick on me [in England] because I played basketball, not soccer," said Midgley, who played two years of high school basketball in California. "But I picked the right sport, I guess."
Ninth-seeded N.C. State had a chance to win the game, but Sherrill missed from the top of the key as time expired.
California (22-8), a No.8 seed, advanced to the second round for the second straight year.
Midgley could have been remembered for two potential game-winning layups that were blocked in the final minute of regulation, when he dared drive the lane.
"If I'm wide open, I'm confident I'm going to hit my shot," said Midgley, who finished with 11 points. "I wasn't worried about what happened earlier in the game."
Neither was Shipp, who led California with a game-high 24 points but turned to Midgley when the game was on the line.
Shipp, who scored California's first four points in overtime, drew two Wolfpack defenders with a move inside before kicking it back out to Midgley.
"He'll get a lot of attention for all the points he scored, but there's something about trusting your teammates," California coach Ben Braun said. "He certainly trusted the freshman."
Said Shipp: "I tried to create and go to the basket. I looked up and Richard was wide open and made the play."
The loss was a bitter disappointment for N.C. State (18-13), which appeared headed to the second round after Sherrill made his 3-pointer.
Josh Powell, who scored 17 points and made one of the key blocks on Midgley at the end of regulation, thought the Wolfpack had it won when Sherrill's shot swished through.
"It was a great emotion. We were going back to play defense, but they made a great shot," Powell said.
California used its size advantage at the start of the game, jumping to an 11-3 lead on Gabriel Hughes' dunk. N.C. State looked tentative early against the bigger Golden Bears, missing several point-blank looks. The Wolfpack finally loosened up with pair of quick-strike 3-pointers from Sherrill and a tomahawk dunk by Powell.
The ACC team took its first lead at 66-65 in regulation. The Wolfpack led 71-70 in overtime before Shipp muscled over three defenders for a putback off a missed 3-pointer with 50.2 seconds left.
Brian Wethers hit a free throw to give California a 73-71 lead. The consecutive 3-pointers by Sherrill and Midgley closed it out.
"It was a great 3-point shot by Scooter, but we afforded them too many second-chance opportunities," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said.

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