Season over for Wolfpack
By By JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- When an Englishman makes a big shot, it's usually on the soccer field, not the basketball courts of the NCAA tournament.
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 Thursday, sending the Golden Bears to a 76-74 win over North Carolina State in the first round of the East Regional.
The Wolfpack had just taken a 74-73 lead on a 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 in the net.
Ninth-seeded North Carolina 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 and will play No. 1 seed Oklahoma on Saturday.
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.
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.
The loss was a disappointment for North Carolina 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.
California used it size advantage at the start of the game, jumping to an 11-3 lead on Gabriel Hughes' dunk early in the first half.
North Carolina 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.
North Carolina State 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.