Sooners pull away late to beat Cal State Bakersfield
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Buddy Hield scored 27 points to help No. 2 seed Oklahoma defeat No. 15 seed Cal State Bakersfield 82-68 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The senior guard made 8 pf 14 shots, including 3 of 6 3-pointers.
Isaiah Cousins scored 16 points and Jordan Woodard added 15 for the Sooners (26-7), who made 11 of 20 3-pointers and shot 50 percent overall.
Oklahoma enjoyed a homecourt advantage at Chesapeake Energy Arena, just a half hour's drive north of their Norman campus. The Sooners advanced to play No. 10 seed Virginia Commonwealth, which defeated Oregon State 75-67 earlier in the day.
Aly Ahmed had 16 points and eight rebounds, Kevin Mays had 14 points and eight rebounds and Dedrick Basile added 13 points for Bakersfield (24-9), the Western Athletic Conference Tournament champions.
The Sooners won, despite making just 15 of 25 free throws.
Oklahoma led for most of the second half, but Bakersfield cut Oklahoma's lead to four with just over four minutes to play. Woodard drained a 3-pointer about a minute later and Hield followed with a stepback three to push the Sooners' lead to 10.
Bakersfield ran out to an 8-0 lead and held Oklahoma scoreless for the first 2 minutes. The Sooners rallied, and within four minutes, they had a 12-10 lead and Bakersfield had called a timeout.
Woodard's 3-pointer pushed Oklahoma's edge to 33-27 and got the crowd into the game. Bakersfield coach Rod Barnes was called for a technical with 3:56 left in the first half, demonstrating the team's frustration with playing so hard, yet, barely hanging on. Hield made one of two free throws, and Dante Buford made one of two to push Oklahoma's lead to eight.
Ahmed made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to trim Oklahoma's lead to 41-34.
Cal State Bakersfield: Barnes was an assistant at Oklahoma during the 2006-07 season. ... Barnes was an assistant for Ole Miss during the 1998 NCAA Tournament, when Valparaiso's Bryce Drew hit the game-winning 3-pointer across the street at what then was known as The Myriad. ... Ahmed grew up in Egypt and lived there until he was 18. He said he watched March Madness there as a child and dreamed of playing in the tournament.
Oklahoma: The Sooners have reached the tournament four straight years. ... This is the fifth program coach Lon Kruger has led to the NCAA Tournament. ... The Sooners shot 51.6 percent in the first half and committed just four turnovers. Bakersfield shot 50 percent in the first half, but committed 10 turnovers.
Cal State Bakersfield's season is over.
Oklahoma plays Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday.