Ten years ago, it hurt so good for former Cal sharpshooter Richard Midgley.
Starting at point guard for the Bears as a freshman, Midgley hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in overtime on March 20, 2003 to lift Cal to a 76-74 victory over North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The shot helped the Bears avoid a painful loss, but Midgley was still ailing afterward. That's because in the ensuing wild celebration, Midgley and teammate Conor Famulener banged heads together. Midgley ended up with blood running down his face and was forced to get four stitches immediately afterward.
"I had no idea I was bleeding," said Midgley, now the head coach at Modesto Christian High School, his alma mater. "I had to get a few stitches on the side of my head, but it was good fun."
Midgley set a Cal freshman record by connecting on 44.9 percent of his 3-point attempts during the 2002-03 season, but no connection was bigger than the one against the Wolfpack. N.C. State took a 74-73 lead on Scooter Sherrill's 3-pointer with 12.8 seconds left in overtime. Cal leading scorer Joe Shipp took the inbounds pass and drove the length of the court, luring multiple N.C. State defenders with him. Midgley, trailing on the play, clapped for the ball. Shipp passed back out to him, and Midgley coolly sunk the pivotal shot.
"Joe was our scorer that year," Midgley said. "The whole defense collapsed to him. Nobody picked me up at all. Joe made a great play."
And did Midgley know it was going in when the shot left his hands?
"It felt good," he said.
The Wolfpack had time to get off one last shot, but Sherrill's attempt from the top off the key missed.
Midgley essentially was attacked by his teammates after the final horn sounded, as a stream of Golden Bears sprinted toward him from the bench and engaged in celebration.
"It didn't hurt me, but it hurt him," said Famulener, who now works in commercial real estate in San Francisco. "We jumped toward each other to hug and Joe kind of accidentally pushed our heads together. I remember seeing blood all over his face. It's something that we laughed about a little bit."
Since Midgley and Famulener still reside in Northern California, they still are able to follow the Cal program closely. And Midgley says his dramatic shot against N.C. State still draws reaction from Cal ffans to this day.
"I was at Dublin High School the other day and a Cal fan mentioned it to me," he said. "Same thing at the Cal-Stanford game. I guess that's how I'll always be remembered."