On the cobblestone basketball courts of England where he honed his basketball skills as a youth, California's Richard Midgley rarely envisioned playing in the NCAA tournament.
"Nobody [over there] cares about the [NCAA] tournament," said Midgley, a freshman point guard from Burgess Hill, England. "All they care about is soccer. This doesn't even get a mention."
But Midgley's performance today might actually spark interest across the Atlantic. His three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in overtime lifted No. 8 seed California past ninth-seeded North Carolina State, 76-74, in an East Region first-round game at Ford Center.
"Unbelievable, this is unbelievable," said Midgley, who finished with 11 points and needed three stitches after the game to close a gash above his left eye opened by teammate Conor Famulener's tooth during the Golden Bears' wild celebration after the shot. "I was wide open, so I called for it. I didn't think about anything else; I just shot the ball."
California (22-8), which has won its NCAA tournament opener two straight years, next faces top-seeded Oklahoma, a 71-54 winner over No. 16 seed South Carolina State behind freshman guard De'Angelo Alexander's 16 points.
After Midgley's shot, N.C. State's Scooter Sherrill had a chance to win the game from the top of the key but missed as time expired.
"I had a good look," said Sherrill, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, who scored 15 points. "I just didn't knock it down. I may have rushed it a bit."
Prior to Midgley's shot, Sherrill hit a three-pointer that gave the Wolfpack a 74-73 lead, only its third of the game, with 12 seconds left.
In regulation, California had a chance to win, but Sherrill sent the game into overtime tied at 66 by blocking Midgley's driving layup as time expired.
On the previous possession, N.C. State (18-13) blew a chance to go ahead as sophomore guard Julius Hodge's desperation three-point attempt to beat the shot clock failed to draw rim.
Jordan Collins and Josh Powell led N.C. State with 17 points apiece. Shipp topped California's four double-digit scorers with 24 points, followed by junior center Gabriel Hughes, who had a career-high 14 points and matched his career high with nine rebounds.
* OKLAHOMA 71, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 54: The Sooners (25-6) closed the first half with a 20-4 charge en route to dropping the Bulldogs, who are 0-5 in the NCAA tournament.
Playing 20 minutes away from their Norman, Okla., campus, the top-seeded Sooners, who led by as many as 31 points, fell behind 4-0 in the game's first two minutes against South Carolina State (20-11).
Alexander, from nearby Midwest City, finally scored Oklahoma's first points of the game on a three-pointer nearly five minutes into the game, ending the Sooners' scoreless streak of 19 minutes 54 seconds dating from last Sunday's Big 12 tournament championship win over Missouri.
Hollis Price, Oklahoma's leading scorer, played only 11 minutes and was clearly bothered by a strained left groin. He took only one shot -- a three-pointer, which he made to finish with three points.
"[Coach] didn't really need me much [today]," said Price, a senior. "I wasn't as quick today as I usually am. Hopefully I can be 80 percent by Saturday."
South Carolina State's Dustin Braddick scored 15 points and Moses Malone Jr., a senior guard, ended his well-traveled collegiate career with 13 points and six rebounds.
"Talent-wise, there wasn't much of a difference," Malone Jr. said. "We just didn't make key plays or hit shots."