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Richard Midgley 
Richard Midgley hit the game winning three to give Cal a 76-74 OT victory over NC State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament
(Photo: Cal Athletics)
California 76  North Carolina State 74 (OT)
NCAA Tournament - First Round

Thurs
day 20 March 2003
Ford Center - Oklahoma City, CA (USA)

 
It took him three attempts to hit the game winner, but California's English point guard Richard Midgley didn't flinch when their NCAA Tournament existence was on the line.

Midgley, who had two potential winning shots blocked late in regulation, including one as time expired, drained the clutch three-pointer that gave the Golden Bears a dramatic 76-74 overtime victory over NC State in Oklahoma City last night.

Cal had jumped out an early lead, scoring the first seven points of the game, and their biggest lead of eight points (24-18) would surely have been greater if not for some effective long-range shooting from the Wolfpack, which ultimately restricted them to a 39-36 half-time lead.

It was a Midgley three-pointer which sparked a 7-0 run that would give Cal a 63-56 lead, with 5:48 remaining, but with the game seemingly Cal's to win, the Pac-10 team came over all tentative and allowed the Wolfpack to impose themselves down the stretch.

A 10-2 NC State run gave them the momentum to take their first lead of the game at 66-65 from a Julius Hodge slam dunk with 1:57 to go.

Conor Famulener's tied things up, when he split a pair of free throws with 1:34 remaining, for what would be the last score of regulation, as neither side were able to take advantage of their opportunities, and the game headed into overtime.

Both sides traded baskets early in the extra period, but when Brian Wethers made only one of his free-throws, the Cal lead was just two points at 73-71 and NC State called for a time-out with 22.0 seconds left on the clock.

As the TV coverage replayed NC State's famous Final Four victory shot from 20 years ago, it suddenly seemed the Wolfpack might be inspired to emulate that with a Tournament win of their own.

Scooter Sherrill hit the big three to give them a 74-73 advantage with just 12.8 seconds to go, only to see Cal go straight down the other end with Joe Shipp and Midgley providing the game ending heroics and handing NC State a heartbreaking loss.

"I just saw Joe (Shipp) go to the bucket and he found me and I hit the shot. I wasn't really worried about what happened earlier in the game," said Midgley.

"Basically Joe got the board and took the whole team to the bucket. I spotted up and it felt good when it came out of my hand."

Cal Head Coach Ben Braun reflected on his side's hard fought victory.

"What a terrific college tournament game. NC State was a difficult team. They did a great job spreading the floor and fighting for three's. Joe Shipp certainly made a big play and he will be noticed for all the points he scored today. That was a great play at the end of a great game," he said.

Commenting of the game winning play, Braun said: "If another guy had had the ball, we might have called a time out. You're not going to get a better shot than with Joe (Shipp). He drew the defense to him and found the open man. He had five assists today and only one turnover. He has the ability to make the team better. He did it today."

He also gave credit to centre Gabriel Hughes, who hit a career high 14 points for the Golden Bears.

"Gabriel may not score a lot, but i'm glad he's staying with it. His stats won't always knock you ever. This was the culmination of what he's worked hard for this year. He's really started coming on. We don't beat NC State today without Gabriel Hughes," said Braun.

Shipp led the scoring effort for Cal with a game-high 24 points, assisted by Wethers and Midgley who had 11 points each. Josh Powell and Marcus Melvin both made 17 points for NC State.

Cal now face a Second Round match against Oklahoma, which presents them with the double challenge of playing the top seeds of the East Region bracket in their own backyard.

That game will tip-off at 10.30pm (GMT) on Saturday and we will post information about the TV schedule for NASN in our TV/Radio Listings section, when it becomes available to us.

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