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No. 1 Arizona demolishes Arizona State

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- No. 1 Arizona is taking the "i" out its game, with illustrious effect.

Six players led the Wildcats in scoring at least once this season, and seven players scored in double figures Thursday in Arizona's 91-68 rout of in-state rival Arizona State.

"We have a group of guys who play with a lot of energy, a lot of effort, and are willing to share the ball," Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Guard Nick Johnson scored 17 points, and forward Aaron Gordon had 16 for Arizona (18-0, 5-0). The Wildcats extended the best start in school history and remained one of three undefeated teams in NCAA Division I.

"As we've said a ton, we're unselfish," said Arizona guard T.J. McConnell, who had 10 points, six assists and three steals. "Everyone's unselfish, not just one guy.

"We can score at any position. That's what makes us dangerous. When we're unselfish like that and getting it to the big guys, I think we're pretty tough to stop."

Center Kaleb Tarczewski had 12 points, reserve forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson contributed 11, and three other Wildcats scored 10 points as Arizona closed within one game of tying the longest winning streak in school history.

The rout was on early. Arizona built a 26-8 lead 11 minutes into the game, as Arizona State (13-5, 2-3) missed 15 of its first 17 field-goal attempts. The Sun Devils never were closer than 19 points in the final 10 minutes.

"We had to come out strong," Johnson said. "It was a rivalry game, and we knew it was going to be intense regardless of the records. We didn't want to give them any false hopes of trying to come back or anything."

Guard Jahii Carson scored 20 points to lead Arizona State, which played without second-leading scorer Jermaine Marshall, who suffered a groin injury in practice earlier in the week. Marshall, a senior guard who transferred from Penn State, is averaging 15.6 points a game.

"I was attacking like I normally do, but it is a little bit easier when he is out there hitting 3s and they have to contest his jumpers and he is able to make plays himself," said Carson who shot 7-for-19 from the field.

"It's really tough when he is averaging 15, 16 points a game and he can't get that."

Arizona limited Arizona State to 34 percent shooting from the floor and posted a 39-30 rebounding advantage. The Wildcats entered the week seventh in NCAA Division I in rebound margin at plus-10.7.

"You look at the results they are posting night in and night out, (and) it wasn't a surprise, only a confirmation," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "They are very well-balanced, and their size is a factor."

Tarczewski and Hollis-Jefferson had eight rebounds apiece and Gordon had six for the Wildcats.

McConnell made two of three 3-point field goals after tying his career high with five 3-pointers in a 73-53 victory over USC on Sunday.

"I feel people don't respect my shot," McConnell said. "I haven't taken a lot of outside shots this year, but I worked hard this summer and I have confidence in it. If they back off, I'm going to shoot it."

Sun Devils reserve guard Bo Barnes scored 13 points, making three 3-pointers, and forward Shaquielle McKissic had 10 points.

Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski, the NCAA leader in blocked shots, swatted three more to give him 81 for the season.

Arizona went on a 16-3 run to take an 18-point lead midway through the first half, when Arizona State went 6:30 without a point and almost eight minutes without a basket. Tarczewski had two baskets and guard Gabe York and McConnell hit 3-pointers in the Wildcats' run.

Johnson sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 31-12 lead with 7:12 remaining in the half, giving him 1,000 career points. He is the 48th player in school history to reach that plateau.

"It feel good to be a part of that group here at Arizona," Johnson said.

Tarczewski's follow on the next possession gave Arizona a 21-point lead, its largest of the half.

Arizona State got within 14 at halftime but never came closer than 15 in the second half.

NOTES: Arizona freshman F Aaron Gordon was selected the 2013 USA Basketball male athlete of the year Tuesday. He was the MVP of Team USA's FIBA U19 championship squad. ... F Brandan Kearney, a semester-eligible transfer from Michigan State, started in place of Arizona State G Jermaine Marshall. Kearney scored three points. ... Arizona State fell to 1-8 against No. 1 teams, with the lone win a 87-67 decision over Oregon State on March 7, 1981. That Arizona State team, which featured future NBA players Byron Scott, Alton Lister and Lafayette Lever, was ranked No. 5 at the time.
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