Hollis Price scored a game-high 20 points as No. 25 Oklahoma (1-0) used a second half surge to slip past Central Connecticut State (0-1), 66-44, in the first round of the Preseason NIT Monday in Norman.
Trailing by only six points at halftime, the Blue Devils scored the first eight points of the second half to erase the deficit and take a 31-29 lead over the Sooners at the 16:56 mark of the first half.
Oklahoma then scored nine straight points to take back the lead and finished the game on a 37-13 run.
After Central Connecticut cut the Oklahoma lead to 42-40 with ten minutes to go in the game, Price single-handedly thwarted the comeback attempt hitting back-to-back three's to begin a spurt in which he scored 11 consecutive points.
"After we were trailing by two (40-38 in the second half), I pleaded with my players to watch for him. We didn't and he made us pay," said Blue Devil Coach Howard Dickerman. "He is an outstanding player and made the plays when he had to."
Price, a junior from New Orleans, made a career high six three-pointers (6-of-10)from behind the arc and also led the Sooners in assists with five.
Junior guard Jason Detrick came off the bench to score eight of the Sooners first 16 points and finished the game with 12.
Corsley Edwards led the Blue Devils with 16 points.
"We came out with a lot of defensive pressure in the second half.," said Detrick of a stingy Oklahoma defense that forced 22 turnovers. "Coach Sampson was getting on us about that. They went on a little run early in the second half, but from then on, we wanted to shut them down. We did a good job of that."
"This was a good way to start the season. We didn't play well, but we responded to adversity and that was good to see," said Oklahoma Head Coach Kelvin Sampson. "Our defensive pressure was good but we need to get some more chemistry offensively. We need to settle into our roles, but that's going to happen when you have two new guards."
Next up for the Sooners in the second round is a trip East Lansing, Mich., where they will face No. 15 Michigan State. The Spartans advanced to the second round with an 80-70 win over Detroit early Monday evening.
OU-Central Connecticut Stats
Sooners win NIT opener, 66-44
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