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John Miller, Associated Press
Arizona State's Herb Sendek disagrees with a official's call during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Defending conference regular-season champion Arizona got 16 points from Jesse Perry and 14 from Nick Johnson, taking control early and beating Arizona State 68-51 in the teams' Pac-12 opener on Saturday.

The Wildcats (10-4) were up by 14 at the half and by as many as 24 in the second half.

Arizona State (4-9) cut the lead to 13 twice but could get no closer. Rusian Pateev scored a career-high 12 for the Sun Devils, who are off to their worst start since 1986-87, when they also opened 4-9. No other Arizona State player reached double figures.

Solomon Hill had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats, who made 8 of 20 3-pointers, including 3 of 5 for Johnson.