- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Coaches don’t often beg freshmen to shoot more.

But Utah first-year player Brekkott Chapman can’t seem to fire up enough shots for Coach Larry Krystkowiak.

“Brekkott was really big. He made some shots and he probably passes up some shots,” Krystkowiak said. “You don’t often have to convince a young man to shoot more but he has a nice stroke.”

Chapman scored a career-best 22 points to help No. 14 Utah cruise past South Dakota State 80-66 on Tuesday night.

“Coach has been telling me to stop passing up open looks and take advantage of them,” Chapman said.

“It’s easy when you play with someone like this guy,” Chapman said, pointing to senior point guard Delon Wright.

Wright added 17 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for the Utes, who used a four-minute first-half run to take command and never looked back.

“We made a couple 3s, rebounded well, made some stops. We got out in transition and got some easy baskets so it didn’t take long to extend the lead,” Wright said.

Dakarai Tucker added 11 points for Utah (9-2).

Cody Larson scored 13 points, Reed Tellinghuisen added 12 points and Zach Horstman had 10 for the Jackrabbits (9-4), who shot 39 percent and saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.

“Our effort wasn’t very good. Our guys just looked gassed from the start,” SDSU coach Scott Nagy said.

Chapman displayed a savvy inside-out floor game and seemed to be in the right place at the right time, whether it be by the basket for a rebound and a put-back or flying to the rim to receive a Wright-led fast break pass.

“Whenever I’m open and in the correct position, I’m going to shoot it. When the ball goes in, everything seems easier,” Chapman said.

The smooth 6-foot-8 forward made 9 of 13 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. Chapman’s previous high was 11 points against UC-Riverside on Nov. 21.

Isaiah Wright stole the ball and hit a 3-pointer on the other end to cap a 19-4 run over a four-minute span and make it 45-26 for the Utes just before halftime.

“Our defense clamped down and that always gets our offense going and executing better,” Chapman said.

The Jackrabbits stayed close in the early stages and closed the gap to 26-22 after a three-point play by Horstman with 5:19 left in the first half.

But the Jackrabbits’ string of four games decided by four points or fewer would not continue. In fact, the closest they got to the Utes in the second half was the final score, playing against Utah’s seldom-used reserves.

“I was proud of how the kids didn’t quit,” Nagy said. “I thought that they fought really hard. This game could have easily got out of hand into the 30s, but it didn’t and our kids never stopped playing.”

Wright, who made seven of his eight attempts, is averaging 19 points on 60 percent shooting over a seven-game stretch.

Utah’s largest lead was 66-40 with 11:38 to play after the Utes made three straight layups and a free throw.

TIP-INS

South Dakota State: Larson got a flagrant foul for elbowing Kyle Kuzma with 10:08 left in the game … SDSU is 1-9 against Top 25 foes since moving to Division I in 2004-05. … SDSU grabbed 10 offensive rebounds and had 14 second-chance points (Utah had just seven).

Utah: Jordan Loveridge missed his seventh game after knee surgery but is nearing a return and starting forward Chris Reyes played just three minutes because of an undisclosed injury. … The Utes have won 26 straight against unranked opponents at home by an average of 24 points. … Utah is fifth in the nation at defending 2-point shots (37.

UP NEXT

SDSU visits No. 23 Northern Iowa on Sunday.

Utah hosts Carroll College next Tuesday.

TIME FOR A BREAK

“Bodies are beat up. We’ve played some tough teams and we’ve been going for three straight months now. Everybody needs a break right now,” Krystkowiak said of the upcoming time off before Pac-12 play begins. “Plus, I’ll bet they’ll all say they’re really sick of me.”

INVOLVE THE BIG MEN

Wright knows they can’t win every game from the backcourt. Against SDSU, Wright only took eight shots and the other starting guard Brandon Taylor went scoreless. “We’ve been trying to do a better job getting the bigs some touches because the guards have been shooting it more. So we gotthem post touches and open jumpers when we drove and collapsed the defense,” Wright said.

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