CONWAY, S.C. Coastal Carolina University's men's basketball team opened the 2001 preseason with a 59-53 exhibition game victory over the United States Air Force All-Stars on Monday night at Kimbel Arena.
In a game that had nine ties and 10 lead changes, the story came down to the Chanticleers' stingy defense in the final 11 minutes of the contest. With the USAF All-Stars holding a 47-40 advantage with 11:10 remaining on the clock, Coastal Carolina closed the game with a 19-6 run. The USAF squad managed just three free throws and a 3-point basket by Darren Harmon in the final 11 minutes as Coastal turned to a full-court pressure-filled defense. Harmon's trey came with 4:00 remaining on the clock and proved to be the final points that the US Air Force squad would score.
The Chanticleers, who led 29-26 at halftime, defense held the All-Star squad to a poultry 32.8 field goal percentage and forced 18 turnovers. Spearheading the defense was speedy point guard Alvin Green, who opened his sophomore season with seven steals.
Redshirt sophomore Anthony Susnjara returned to the court for Coastal after missing nearly a year and a half due to injuries. The Fairfield, Australia, native posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while connecting on 5-of-8 from the field. Junior guard Brandon Newby led all scorers with 17 points, while junior Antonio Darden added 14 points. Newby and Darden also grabbed nine and eight rebounds respectively as the Chanticleers outrebounded the USAF All-Stars 42-37.
Gregory Streeter and Michael Freeman each scored nine points to lead the Air Force squad.
Coastal Carolina played the game without the services of four players, including the defending Big South Conference Player of the Year and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American Torrey Butler. Butler, fellow senior Justin Burton and juniors Clint Reed and Mihai Raducanu missed the game due to various injuries.
Coastal Carolina will host Francis Marion University on Saturday, November 10, at 7:00 p.m. in the final exhibition game of the year. The Chanticleers will open the regular season on November 17 at Xavier at 7:00 p.m.