SEATTLE (AP)—In a week, Brandon Burmeister went from being frightened over nauseating, head-splitting complications from a spinal tap to helping Washington set a team record for long-range shooting.
The senior reserve scored a career-high 17 points and was 5-for-7 from 3-point range as No. 17 Washington sailed past tired, undermanned Nicholls State 102-74 in the Basketball Travelers Classic on Monday night.
The Huskies (2-0) hit 16 3-pointers in 33 attempts—including 12-for-21 in the first half with constant set shots over the Colonels’ zone defense. Nicholls State packed it in to combat 7-foot freshman Spencer Hawes and rugged forward Jon Brockman, and trailed 56-22 at halftime because of it.
“I probably should have taken one or two more,” Burmeister said of his 3-point shooting.
Six days earlier, he returned to practice following a week of searing headaches and then fears of a bleeding brain after the spinal tap.
The hole from the procedure didn’t close as quickly as expected, leaving Burmeister unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time without feeling ill. Finally, the situation resolved itself early last week.
And Washington had back its reliable sharpshooter off the bench who could— along with Ryan Appleby, last season’s Pac-10 newcomer of the year—help negate the expected opposing defenses designed to thwart Hawes and Brockman this season.
“It doesn’t matter if we play (Seattle’s) Franklin High School or the Los Angeles Lakers, we know what Brandon Burmeister is going to give us,” Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar. “He’s just solid, steady.”
Sophomore point guard Justin Dentmon added 16 points and six assists for the young Huskies who never trailed and were tied just once, at 4. Quincy Pondexter followed his 21-point, seven-rebound collegiate debut in Sunday’s season opener with 14 points and four rebounds.
Brockman, who had a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday, didn’t score until the second minute of the second half. He finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a game that didn’t need his bulldog presence inside.
Adonis Gray scored 29 points—25 in the second half—for Nicholls State (0-3), while Aaron Scott added 24.
The Colonels dressed just eight players—leading returning scorer Stefan Blaszczynski was injured and watching on the bench—and was playing their third game in three days spanning three time zones.
Nicholls State, 9-18 last season and 5-11 in the Southland Conference, began this season at Mississippi State on Saturday, then flew to Seattle for Sunday’s five-point loss to Northern Iowa. After playing Pepperdine in their tournament finale in Seattle on Tuesday, the Colonels go to No. 7 LSU on Friday. Then comes a game at No. 19 Texas.
Coach J.P. Piper said his team is here because Nicholls State owed money to the organizers of the Basketball Travelers Classic from a previous tournament.
“We didn’t have any desire to come out here,” Piper said. “But they kept sweetening the pot until we couldn’t say no.
“Playing teams of this caliber will help us—but the timing is not ideal.”
Dentmon made four 3-pointers and had 11 straight points to put Washington ahead 39-12 with just over five minutes left in the half. Pondexter’s second 3-pointer increased the lead to 30.
Brockman’s 10th point of the second half gave Washington its largest lead, 78-36 with just over 11 minutes remaining. Nicholls State then had its best stretch of the game, going on a 13-0 run with repeated steals and layups. Gray had nine points during the spurt.
Hawes, Washington’s heralded, 7-foot freshman who had a dazzling debut Sunday and remains a curiosity, continued to show his game has far more than post-up moves. He made some deft passes and dribbled across halfcourt on a fastbreak—but had only four points, on the first two shots of the game. The second was a 17-foot jump shot.
Washington and Northern Iowa (2-0), an NCAA tournament team the last three seasons, meet to end the tournament Tuesday night.