- Associated Press - Friday, January 17, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State’s players and coaches had seen what Arizona had done to opponents this season, so they had a good idea how good the Wildcats were.

Seeing it up close only served as affirmation.

Arizona State fell into a big early hole and was unable to mount a comeback with second-leading scorer Jermaine Marshall out of the lineup, leading to a 91-68 loss to top-ranked Arizona on Thursday night.

“You look at the results they are posting night in and night out, it wasn’t a surprise, only a confirmation,” Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek said. “They are very well balanced and their size is a factor.”

Arizona (18-0, 5-0 Pac-12) dominated the Sun Devils almost from the opening tip, turning missed shots and turnovers into points at the other end while building a 21-point lead in the first half.

The Wildcats didn’t let up, either, stretching the lead to extend the best start in school history.

Arizona put seven players in double figures, shot 56 percent and had 21 assists on 34 field goals to beat the Sun Devils for the sixth time in seven games.

Nick Johnson had 17 points, Aaron Gordon scored 16 and Kaleb Tarczewski finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. T.J. McConnell added 10 points, six assists and three steals.

“No doubt about it, we have a group of guys that plays with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and we are willing to share the ball,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Arizona State (13-5, 2-3) had trouble with Arizona’s size all night, shooting 34 percent.

Jahii Carson had 20 points and five assists, but struggled early and had at least four shots blocked. ASU center Jordan Bachynski battled foul trouble in the first half and wasn’t much of a factor when he was in the game, finishing with three points while missing all three of his shots.

Bo Barnes added 13 points for the Sun Devils, who had 18 turnovers and seven assists.

“They’re a great team,” Bachynski said. “It’s a tough loss and I hate to lose to them. They’re just a really good team with great size. There’s a reason Arizona is No. 1.”

Arizona has gotten off to the best start in school history behind its defense

The Wildcats entered the game fourth nationally in scoring at 56 points per game, seventh in field goal percentage at 37 percent and 13th in 3-point shooting at 28 percent.

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