Utah tops Northwestern State
Tyler Rawson scored a career-high 25 points and sparked Utah on offense to start both halves, leading the Utes to an 84-62 win over Northwestern State on Wednesday night.
Justin Bibbins added a career-high 25 points and Sedrick Barefield chipped in 12 for Utah.
The Utes (8-3) had several key contributors sidelined with injuries. David Collette (hip), Gabe Bealer (knee) and Donnie Tillman (foot) did not play against the Demons.
Those absences didn’t make it any easier for Northwestern State. The Demons (3-8) shot just 32.4 percent from the floor and trailed wire to wire. Iziahiah Sweeney led Northwestern State with 18 points and Ishmael Lane chipped in 13.
Northwestern State stumbled out of the gate on offense. The Demons missed their first 10 shots from the field and did not get their first field goal until Larry Owens and Lane ended the drought with back-to-back baskets.
Utah took advantage behind Rawson’s hot shooting. He made four 3-pointers in the game’s first 5 1/2 minutes to boost the Utes to a 14-1 lead. His teammates soon joined in the act. Rawson, Bibbins, Barefield and Parker Van Dyke each drained a three over four straight possessions to put Utah ahead 23-5.
Northwestern State twice cut the deficit to 10 points before halftime, the final time when Sweeney drilled a 3-pointer to trim Utah’s lead to 33-23. Rawson and Barefield made back-to-back baskets to prevent it from falling to single digits.
Rawson scored Utah’s first six points after halftime to help the Utes keep the Demons at arm’s length. Utah eventually pushed its lead to 53-34 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Bibbins.
Utah notched its fifth straight win over a Southland Conference team. The Utes improved to 42-3 in regular season home non-conference games since the 2012-13 season.