OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma refused to become another No. 2 seed gone sour even though 15th-seeded Cal State Bakersfield refused to go away.
Guard Buddy Hield scored 27 points to lead the way as the Sooners survived with an 82-68 victory over CSU Bakersfield Friday afternoon in an NCAA Tournament West Regional first-round game.
Oklahoma plays Virginia Commonswealth next.
Even with a huge crowd from just down the road in Norman, Okla., behind Oklahoma, the Sooners rarely led by double digits against the Roadrunners.
Oklahoma (27-7) finally came up with the right combination of defensive stops and shooting touch on the offensive end to take control in the final three minutes.
Jordan Woodard and Hield each hit 3-pointers, sandwiched around a key block by forward Khadeem Lattin on the other end. Hield’s trey put the Sooners ahead 75-65 with 2:31 remaining.
Center Aly Ahmed scored 16 to lead the Roadrunners (24-9), but Oklahoma clamped down on him and held him scoreless in the second half.
Hield chased down a loose ball from the CSU Bakersfield end to about 15 feet beyond the arc on Oklahoma’s side of the court. He then took one dribble and pulled up to hit a 3-pointer.
On the next trip down the floor, Hield went into the lane, then kicked the ball out to forward Dante Buford on the right wing. Buford hit the wide-open trey, capping a 10-0 run that put the Sooners ahead 55-46 with 12:51 left.
But the Roadrunners made enough plays to stay in the contest. Guard Damiyne Durham hit a jumper to cut Oklahoma’s lead back down to six with 9:35 left.
Hield hit a shot in the lane and completed a three-point play for a nine-point lead. But CSU Bakersfield made the next two baskets, including a layup by Durham to stay within five.
CSU Bakersfield jumped to an early lead by holding Oklahoma scoreless for the first two minutes. Guard Kevin Mays hit a pair of free throws to put the Roadrunners ahead 8-0 with 17:52 left in the first half.
But Oklahoma bounced back with a 14-2 run capped by Isaiah Cousins’ steal and coast-to-coast layup that put the Sooners ahead 14-12 with 13:19 to go before halftime.
The Roadrunners stayed close for much of the first half. Ahmed banked in a jump shot from near the top of the key that tied it at 23.
Oklahoma opened up a 12-point lead when Hield turned a steal into a fast-break layup with 54 seconds left in the first half.
But even then the Roadrunners wouldn’t go away. Guard Brent Wrapp got into the lane for a layup and Ahmed hit a three-point shot just before the first-half buzzer to cut the Sooners’ lead to 41-34 at the break.
Ahmed scored 16 points in the first half, while Hield led Oklahoma with 11.