March 3, 2007
SEATTLE - Washington has a knack for sending its seniors off in fantastic fashion.
A ceremony annually precedes the UW men's basketball team's final home game, honoring the senior class. The seniors are also given the opportunity to start during their last outing at Bank of America Arena.
The Huskies have another tradition involving their final home game -- winning.
Washington upset second-ranked UCLA 61-51 on Saturday, its 11th consecutive victory in the final home outing. The Huskies have toppled four other ranked opponents during that span, including a stunning 75-62 triumph over No. 1 Stanford on Mar. 6, 2004. That result spoiled the previously undefeated Cardinal's pursuit of a perfect regular season.
Saturday was the third time a ranked UCLA team was victimized on the Huskies' final Seattle date. The 18th-ranked Bruins lost in 1998 and a No. 13 UCLA squad was defeated in 2001. UW beat No. 9 Arizona in the 2005 finale.
The most recent win in the string may have been the most impressive as the young Huskies outplayed an experienced UCLA unit that returned most of the key elements from the 2006 Final Four team.
"We knew we were going to need a Herculean effort to come out and be successful against UCLA," Coach Lorenzo Romar exclaimed. "I don't think many teams in the country could beat them. We were fortunate enough today to get it done."
While neither of UW's seniors scored, both received standing ovations as they exited the game in the waning seconds of their victory over the Pac-10 champion Bruins.
The arrival of Burmeister and Gasser coincided with the resurgence of the Husky basketball program. UW endured four consecutive losing seasons before beginning a run of three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. The 2005 Husky squad won the Pac-10 Tournament championship en route to the Sweet 16. Last year's team also advanced to the Sweet 16.
The senior duo helped the Huskies register a remarkable 49-4 home record during their careers at Bank of America Arena.
Burmeister and Gasser are among an elite group of only 11 Huskies who have been members of three NCAA Tournament teams at Washington.
A product of Issaquah (Wash.) High School, Gasser made his first start in his 79th career game. He will receive his fourth letter in a career highlighted by his performance in UW's win over New Mexico in last season's Wooden Classic.
Burmeister is from Mercer Island (Wash.) High School. He played his 79th career game, drawing his second start. Burmeister hit 5-of-8 three-point shots en route to a career-high 17-point performance earlier this season to lead the Huskies to a victory over Nicholls State. For his career, Brandon has amassed 42 three-point baskets.
The seniors will continue their collegiate careers on the road, beginning Wednesday, Mar. 7 against Arizona State in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament. Tip-off is 8:42 p.m. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the game that will be televised live on FSN.