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Nov. 10, 1997

Men's Basketball Closes Out Exhibition Schedule

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- The Michigan State men's basketball team closes out the exhibition portion of its schedule on Tuesday (Nov. 11) when it hosts the Ural Basketball Club of Perm, Russia. The contest will be held at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center on the MSU campus starting at 7:35 p.m.

In their first exhibition outing last Tuesday (Nov. 4), the Spartans rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit to post an 86-73 win over Athletes in Action. MSU received double-figure scoring from five players and shot 51.6 percent from the floor vs. AIA's effort of 36.6 percent. Leading the scoring parade was senior guard Thomas Kelley with 18 points, while sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves chipped in 15 points and dished out six assists. Freshman forward Andre Hutson was impressive in his first appearance in a Spartan uniform, scoring 11 points, grabbing five boards and blocking three shots. Closing out the double-figure scorers were Antonio Smith and David Thomas, each with 10 points.

The Spartans suffered a jolt late last week when Kelley, who saw action in all 29 games last season, six as a starter, broke a bone in his left foot during practice which will sideline him for eight-to-10 weeks.

"Obviously, losing Thomas' experience and athleticism hurts us," said head coach Tom Izzo. "He can do so many things for us in the style that we want to play, and while we have good depth at the guard position, we really don't have another player like him."

The Ural Club, which will play Michigan on Monday (Nov. 10), has dropped the first three games of its American tour including a 117-72 decision to Purdue (Nov. 9), the preseason pick to win the 1997-98 Big Ten crown. Guard Alexi Pegoushin is averaging 11.7 points through three contests and registered 17 points against the Boilermakers, hitting eight-of-nine from the floor.

"As with most international teams, this club likes to shoot the three-point shot and is averaging over 20 attempts per game," said Izzo. "So, defending the three-point shot will be important for us. They also have good size and will test us on the boards."

MSU will open the regular season on Monday, November 10, with a home date against East Tennessee State starting at 7:35 p.m.

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