The Utes’ final tuneup before Pac-12 play lacked drama, but it included an unexpected plot twist as two starters watched from the bench while as their teammates routed Northwestern State to assure a happy holiday break.

Seniors Justin Bibbins and Tyler Rawson scored 25 points apiece in an 84-62 route of the Demons in the Huntsman Center on Wednesday night. Rawson’s 25 points were a career high, while Bibbins’ were his highest output of the season. Bibbins also dished out six assists.

The Utes (8-3) knocked down 15 3-pointers, the third-most in a game in program history. Bibbins’ seven 3-pointers were the second-most by an individual in a single game for the Utes.

“We’ve been kind of overdue with it,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We haven’t shot the three. I think we’re ninth, maybe tenth, in our conference in 3-point field goal percentage, and a lot of them have been good looks. … Guys did a good job, I thought. Spread the ball around. High assist rate. It was good. We needed it.”

The Utes played their previous game against rival BYU without freshman forward Donnie Tillman (sprained foot), and redshirt freshman forward Chris Seeley hasn’t played since having gallbladder surgery earlier this month.

However, the Utes added to their inactive list on Wednesday, as senior forward David Collette (abdominal strain) and senior wing Gabe Bealer (hyper-extended knee) sat out with injuries. Collette is the team’s leading scorer (13.5 points per game) and primary post threat.

“For me personally, I just knew when we have guys down there’s a lot of offense that we’re missing,” Rawson said. “I had to be a little more selfish and take some more shots that I normally don’t take. I’m glad they were going in today.”

Rawson led a long-distance barrage in the opening minutes. He scored 12 of the team’s first 14 points – all on 3-pointers – as the Utes jumped out to a 14-1 lead. Rawson made all four of his 3-point attempts in the first four and half minutes, while eight of the Utes’ first nine field goals came from behind the arc.

The Demons, who played at 17th-ranked Oklahoma the previous night, went on an 11-2 run midway through the first half to pull within 28-18 on a 3-pointer by Jalan West with 6:52 remaining in the first half. However, the Utes kept the lead from shrinking below 10 points, as Sedrick Barefield scored six points in the final six minutes to help keep the Demons at bay.

Sophomore 7-footer Jayce Johnson, who made his first start of the season, grabbed nine first-half rebounds. The Utes led by as many as 19 points in the first half, and took a 41-26 advantage into the break. Johnson finished with a career-high 15 rebounds in 26 minutes.

Bibbins scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, and he went 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line after halftime as he repeatedly crushed the Demons’ hopes of rallying.

“I try to get people more involved in the first half. That usually gets my game going, if I can get a couple assists in the first half,” Bibbins said. “Then the second half I usually settle down. I get real anxious in the beginning of the game, so I don’t want to just fire shots off the start of the game. In the second half, I get my rhythm and get comfortable with the speed of the game and I can start shooting.”

The Utes will not play again until they open Pac-12 play at Oregon on Dec. 29.