Huskies take seniors out in style

Washington was determined to send seniors Brandon Burmeister and Hans Gasser off in grand style. Team captain Jon Brockman wouldn't have it any other way, and his four free-throws down the stretch sealed a 61-51 UW triumph over No. 2 UCLA Saturday at an electric Bank of America Arena Sunday.

Much in the same way Washington won their game against then No. 1 Stanford back in 2004 for departing senior Curtis Allen, the game definitely had the feel of an upset in the making. These Huskies didn't carry Gasser and Burmeister off on their shoulders the same way Allen was after the stunner against the Cardinal, but their teammates did just about everything else they could to ensure a win. The two seniors finish their career at ‘The Bank' with a 49-4 record, an astonishing 92.45% winning percentage.

"We knew we were going to need a Herculean effort to come out and be successful against UCLA," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said. "They're such a good basketball team. They're very hard to beat. I don't think many teams in the country could beat them. We were fortunate enough today to get it done."

"You have to hand it to Washington, they really took it to us today," UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. "They out-rebounded us by 15, they defended us to where we only shot 31 percent and they were outstanding inside."

With Washington up 48-32, UCLA did what everyone expected them to do – make a big run. A layup by the Bruins' Lorenzo Mata brought the score to 50-48 with less than five minutes remaining in the game.

But the Huskies (18-12, 8-10) did something they haven't really done at all this year – they stayed resilient and kept their composure. And they did it by playing tough defense and taking advantage of what the Bruins gave them. In the final 4:13, they outscored UCLA 11-3, with nine points coming from the stripe. Brockman was fouled by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute with 1:07 left, and converted two free-throws in the bonus. After Mata missed two free-throws of his own, Brockman scrambled for the rebound – one of his 13 on the day and 44 overall for the Huskies, compared to 29 for the Bruins – and was promptly fouled by Josh Shipp.

Two more made free-throws by Brockman essentially put the game out of reach for the Bruins (26-4, 15-3), who tried valiantly to make some long shots, but none of them fell.

"Our guys weathered the storm and really came together," Romar said. "I don't know if we wouldn't been able to do that a month-and-a-half ago. It's always better, as I've been saying all year, to play at home."

Brockman led the Huskies with a double-double – 20 points and 13 boards, but he wasn't the only one. Freshman center Spencer Hawes finished the day with 13 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. It's no coincidence that the other time this season where both Brockman and Hawes had double-doubles was against LSU, probably the only other game of the year that matched the intensity and focus of the Huskies' effort on Sunday.

Ryan Appleby didn't shoot much from distance, but was very effective, hitting three of five attempts.

The Bruins were led by Shipp, who scored 13 points. Pac-10 Player of the Year contender Arron Afflalo was held to just 12 points on 4-14 shooting, including 3-10 from the three-point line. Mata added 10 points and nine rebounds for UCLA.

The game never looked like it was going to be that close from the outset. UW held UCLA scoreless through the first television break, which came at the 15:03 mark of the first half, fueled by an solid effort on the defensive end. It wasn't until Russell Westbrook scored on a layin with 13:57 left in the half did the Bruins finally draw blood.

An intentional foul by Mata against the Huskies' Adrian Oliver gave Oliver two free-throws and possession with 2:17 left in the half. They turned that play into four points, and eventually held the Bruins to their lowest offensive half of the season, 31-20.

"If you can compete and defend and rebound, you've got a firm identity to where youo can play with most teams," Romar said. "I think this has been coming on. We just don't have a 10 or 11-game winning streak to confirm that."
Statistics:
Points: Brockman 20, Appleby 13, Hawes 13, Pondexter 6, Dentmon 5, Oliver 4
Rebounds: Hawes 15, Brockman 13, Dentmon 4, Appleby 4, Pondexter 3, Oliver 2, TEAM 2, Nelson 1
Assists: Dentmon 3, Hawes 3, Pondexter 2, Brockman 1, Appleby 1, Oliver 1, Nelson 1
Steals: Dentmon 2, Appleby 2, Gasser 1, Oliver 1
Blocks: Hawes 5


Notes:
Romar huddled up with the Dawg Pack after the game to talk to them. Clearly he was having a good time and the students were too.

Today was Phil Nelson's birthday.

UCLA's 20 first-half points is the lowest by a Husky opponent this season. The previous low was Arizona State's 21 in Tempe.

Spencer Hawes' 15 rebounds is a career high. His previous high was 12, set twice before, against LSU and Pittsburgh. His five blocks is the most for a Husky during Pac-10 conference play. The career high for Hawes is six, set against Sacramento State.

UCLA's 31.3% field goal percentage is the lowest by a Husky opponent this season. The previous low was Arizona State's 34% on February 1st.


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