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Wildcats Topple Arizona State, 82-55

Arizona center Loren Woods (3) shoots over Arizona State forward Chad Prewitt. (AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Fifth-ranked Arizona, led by freshmen guards Gilbert Arenas and Jason Gardner, routed Arizona State 82-55 Wednesday night, one point short of the most one-sided road victory ever for the Wildcats against their arch-rivals.

Arenas scored a career-high 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting and Gardner added 16 as the Wildcats (17-3, 6-1 Pac-10) broke the game open in the final six minutes of the first half, then turned it into a a full-fledged blowout in the second.

Arenas also had a game-high eight rebounds seven turnovers, five in the first half.

Only a late spurt by Arizona State prevented the Wildcats from recording their most one-sided road victory ever in the series. The biggest win for Arizona in Tempe was 101-73 in 1988. The largest margin in the series is 40, a 99-59 Arizona victory in Tucson that same season.

The Sun Devils (11-7, 3-4), who feature six freshmen in their regular rotation, lost their third in a row and shot just 33 percent, compared with Arizona's 56 percent. Tanner Shell and Tommy Smith each scored 10 points for the Sun Devils.

ASU's Eddie House, the Pac-10's leading scorer, had his third consecutive sub-par shooting night, going 4-for-14 from the field and finishing with eight points.

Luke Walton, Loren Woods and Rick Anderson each scored 10 points for Arizona, which bounced back from Saturday's loss at Southern California. Walton's total was a career high.

The last two times Arizona came to Tempe, the Wildcats escaped with a one-point victory. This one was much, much easier.

The Wildcats outscored the Sun Devils 16-3 over the last six minutes of the first half to take a 39-22 lead, then went on a 22-7 run to start the second half and made it 61-29 on Michael Wright's inside basket.

The lead reached 70-33 when Anderson, one of two reserves in coach Lute Olson's seven-man rotation, made a free throw, missed the second, then grabbed the rebound and scored with 8:12 to play.

Both teams were sloppy. Arizona had 26 turnovers and Arizona State 22.

The Sun Devils, who haven't beaten the Wildcats since 1995, shot 28 percent in the first half (9-for-32), compared with 57 percent (17-for-30) for Arizona.

Arizona State last beat Arizona March 11, 1995, in Tucson.

The game got so out of hand that both teams sent football players onto the court _ Arizona's Peter Hansen and Arizona State's Todd Heap. Heap just joined the basketball team on Monday.

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