BELMONT, Calif. - Justin Brue
scored a game-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the UC San Diego men's basketball team to a 53-42 victory over Notre Dame de Namur on the first day of the Fourth Annual NDNU Thanksgiving Classic on Friday night at Walter Gleason Gym.
The Tritons, who were already off to the program's best start at the Division II level, improve to 4-1 overall, picking up their first road win of the season. UCSD won just three true road games in 2009-10.
While Brue had another outstanding individual effort, it was the Tritons' defense that was the real story on Friday, as head coach Chris Carlson's squad held Notre Dame de Namur (0-3) to just 42 points on 28% shooting, both season-lows for a UCSD opponent.
The Argonauts converted just 11 field goals on 39 attempts, while missing 10 of their 11 shots from the three-point line. The Tritons' struggled from the floor as well, shooting just 35% (19-54) from the floor, but they were able to fight through it and pull out the victory.
"I'm very pleased with our effort on the defensive end tonight," Carlson said. "We didn't have our best night offensively, but we took care of the glass, we limited their second chance opportunities and we were able to force some turnovers. I thought we did a good job of doing the things that have brought us success so far this season."
The Tritons held a 36-32 rebounding advantage, improving to 4-0 when they finish with more rebounds than their opponent. UCSD also forced NDNU into 17 turnovers, leading to 19 points on the other end.
After scoring a career-high 18 points in Sunday's win over Academy of Art, Brue finished with 16 on Friday, converting 8-of-14 attempts from the field. Casey Ryan finished with 11 points and five rebounds, while James McCann added 10 points and matched his season-high with seven assists.
Nick Storment scored 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting to lead the Argonauts, while Jeff Ford put in 10. Tyler Fricke finished with seven points and 10 rebounds.
UCSD never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 11 points twice in the second half. The Tritons opened up a 20-13 advantage following a layup by Ryan Wheeler with seven minutes left in the first period, but NDNU would trim the deficit to just two at 22-20 with 1:10 left in the half. McCann followed with two at the line on the ensuing trip to give UCSD a 24-20 halftime lead.
The Tritons scored the first six points of the second half to push the lead to 10, but Fricke's three-pointer three and a half minutes later brought the Argonauts to within four at 30-26. That would be as close as the home team would get however, as UCSD took its biggest lead at 43-32 with 8:27 left to play and held on to win by the same margin.
The Tritons will face D-II newcomer Simon Fraser on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. to wrap up the four-team tournament. The Clan suffered a 95-50 defeat at the hands of San Francisco State earlier in the day.