NORMAN, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- Ebi Ere scored 14 points to lead third-ranked Oklahoma to an 87-65 victory over Cal-Irvine in the first round of the Sooner Invitational.
Hollis Price and Quannas White added 13 points apiece as the Sooners (1-1) bounced back from their season-opening loss to Alabama in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Ere's performance helped offset a poor shooting night by Price. Price, a career 45 percent shooter from the floor, shot just 4-of-12.
But Price's teammates gave him plenty of help as five players reached double figures for Oklahoma, which forced 23 turnovers and had 15 steals.
"We had to come in and put that game behind us," Price said. "Alabama was a tough loss, but it seems that every time we lose we get better. Tonight we did a lot of good things so we just need to continue to do what we do in practice and carry that over to the game."
Freshman Kevin Bookout, who scored just six points in the loss to Alabama, added 12 and Jabahri Brown scored nine of his 11 in the second half.
"Coach pushed our confidence level really hard this week in practice," Bookout said. "He got us way up high after that loss. We hated to lose that game, but we just needed to come back and get a win, which made us feel better."
Seven-footer Adam Parada had 19 points for the Anteaters (0-1), including seven straight in a 4-1/2 minute stretch in which they cut the deficit to 58-51 with 9:27 left.
"We cut the game to (seven) and then they made some defensive stops," UC-Irvine coach Pat Douglass said. "When they had to turn the intensity level up, they did. We were going for the big lineup and they hurt us with the transition. We had to decide whether to go big or quick and we chose big. We felt like we could break down the pressure and get the ball down low to the post, but their pressure was too much for us tonight."
The Sooners went on a 10-1 run over the next three minutes and extended their lead to 68-52 as Brown converted a three-point play, Ere nailed a 3-pointer, Brown dunked off a turnover and Price hit a layup.
"I was just waiting for us to pull away," Bookout said. "We had numerous opportunities and we finally hit a couple of shots and got a couple of rebounds that helped us do that."
Oklahoma jumped on UC-Irvine early in the first half as White, Ere and Blake Johnston drilled consecutive 3-pointers in an 11-0 run that made it 17-6 midway through the first half.
But the Anteaters countered with a 13-7 run to get within 24-19 following back-to-back 3-pointers by Mike Hood. But that was the closest they would get as Ere dunked and Johnston drilled another 3-pointer to spark a 19-9 spurt that gave Oklahoma a 43-28 lead at halftime.
The Sooners have won 23 straight home games after a perfect 16-0 mark at the Lloyd Noble Center a year ago and will face Princeton in Saturday's championship. The Tigers rallied to beat Western Michigan in the first game of the event.