Nov. 15, 1997
Averaged 10.2 ppg last season for the Spartans.
Cagers Set to Open 1997-98 Campaign
MSU Starts vs. East Tennessee State
GAME INFORMATION --
The Michigan State men's basketball team starts the program's 99th season of intercollegiate basketball on Monday (Nov. 17) when it hosts East Tennessee State University. The Jack Breslin Student Events Center (15,138) on the MSU campus will serve as the site of the sixth meeting between the Spartans and Buccaneers and tipoff is slated for 7:35 p.m.
MICHIGAN STATE PROBABLE STARTERS ('96-97 stats)
F -- #13 ANTONIO SMITH (Jr., 6-8, 8.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg)
F -- #11 DAVID THOMAS (So., 6-7, 1.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg)
F -- #55 DuJUAN WILEY (Sr., 6-9, 1.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
G -- #14 CHARLIE BELL (Fr., 6-3)
G -- #12 MATEEN CLEAVES (So., 6-2, 10.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.0 apg)
EAST TENNESSEE STATE PROBABLE STARTERS ('96-97 stats)
F -- #23 REGGIE TODD (Jr., 6-7, 7.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
F -- #45 GREG STEPHENS (Jr., 6-7)
C -- #35 GARETH DAVIS (So., 6-9, 2.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
G -- # 3 TROY SEYMOUR (Sr., 6-3, 7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
G -- #11 KYLE KEETON (Jr., 5-11, 10.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg)
All MSU basketball games can be heard on WJIM Radio (1240 AM/97.5 FM). Describing the play-by-play is Mark Champion while former Sp#a*S?, Gus Ganakao0erves as analyst.
LAST YEAR --
MSU finished the 1996-97 season with an overall mark of 17-12 including a 9-9 effort in the Big Ten, good for a sixth-place tie with Michigan and Indiana. The Spartans earned the program's ninth straight postseason appearance, a berth in the NIT where it advanced to the second round. MSU compiled a 13-4 record in games played at the BSEC, 4-8 in road contests.
East Tennessee finished last season with an overall mark of 7-20, 2-12 in the Southern Conference. One of the Buccaneers' victories last year was a 70-69 overtime decision against NCAA Sweet 16 participant Chattanooga.
OFF AND RUNNING --
Monday's opener against East Tennessee State will mark the earliest season opener in MSU history. The previous earliest season starter took place on Nov. 20, 1995, when MSU took on Chaminade in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
SERIES RECORDS --
In a series that started in 1993, Michigan State posts a 5-0 all-time mark against East Tennessee State, 3-0 at the Breslin Center. Monday's game will mark the third straight season that the two clubs have met and the second straight year that the Buccaneers have been MSU's season opening foe. Last year, MSU bolted out to a 39-17 halftime lead before registering an 83-45 win. Current Spartans playing a key role in that game included Morris Peterson with a team-high 19 points and Jason Klein with 13.
THE COACHES --
Michigan State is guided by head coach Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan '77), who begins his third season at the helm of the program. Izzo has a school and career record of 33 28. In games at the Breslin Center, Izzo has posted a record of 23-9.
East Tennessee State Head Coach Ed DeChellis (Penn State '82) is in his second season leading the Bucs. Prior to his appointment at ETSU, DeChellis had served as an assistant coach at Penn State for 10 seasons (1986-87 through 1995-96).
SO FAR THIS YEAR --
Michigan State, which returns eight letterwinners, including four starters from last year, tuned up for the regular season with a pair of exhibition wins. The Spartans topped Athletes in Action, 86-73, back on Nov. 4, before recording an 84-65 triumph over the Ural Basketball Team of Perm, Russia, on Nov. 11. Sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves averaged 16.5 points and seven assists in the two games while junior forward Antonio Smith averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 boards. Sophomore David Thomas was a significant contributor as well, scoring in double figures in both affairs (10 pts. vs. AIA & 13 pts. vs. Ural), while averaging 7.5 caroms.
East Tennessee State, which was to open its regular season on Saturday (Nov. 15) at Vanderbilt, spilt a pair of exhibition contests, losing to Crossfire, 81-74 (Nov. 5), before topping USA Travelers, 101 73, on Nov. 10. Junior guard Greg Stephens, a 6-foot-3 native of Adrian and a transfer from the U.S. Naval Academy, averaged 20 points and six rebounds in the two exhibition contests.
MSU AND THE BRESLIN CENTER --
When MSU hosts East Tennessee State on Monday, it will show an all-time mark of 97-24 (.801) at the Breslin Center since the facility opened in 1989 (44-5 vs. non conference opponents, 53-19 in Big Ten contests). MSU has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in 69 games at the Breslin Center while allowing the opposition to reach that mark on just 16 occasions.
SMITH AND CLEAVES EARN PRESEASON RECOGNITION --
MSU sophomore Mateen Cleaves was a preseason second-team All-Big Ten pick by Athlon's while Antonio Smith garnered third team
WILEY AND THOMAS TRAVEL WITH BIG TEN ALL-STARS --
Senior center DuJuan Wiley and David Thomas were MSU's representatives on the 1997 Big Ten All-Star Team that played a six-game tour of Europe during August. The squad, coached by Tom Izzo, finished with a 3-3 mark. Wiley averaged 8.0 points, shooting 50 percent from the floor, and 5.7 boards, while Thomas finished with a 9.9 per-game scoring mark along with a effort of 5.1 rebounds per outing.
MSU LOOKS TO CONTINUE STREAK --
Michigan State will be looking to record its 21st straight season-opening win on Monday when East Tennessee State comes to town. The last time the Green and White dropped a season-opening game was on Nov. 29, 1976, when Central Michigan recorded an 81-76 triumph at Mt. Pleasant.
FLINT TOWN HIGH ON SPARTANS' LIST --
For the second straight season, the city of Flint has four players on the MSU roster. In addition to Mateen Cleaves and Antonio Smith, both of whom attended Northern High School, sophomore Morris Peterson (Northwestern HS) and freshman Charlie Bell (Southwestern Academy) also hail from Flint.
MORSELS FOR MUSING --
Michigan State has won its last 11 games (10-0 in 1996-97) when holding the opposition to 60 or fewer points ... and own a 22-3 mark in such contests during Tom Izzo's tenure as head coach ... The Spartans hope to continue their stingy defensive play at the Breslin Center which saw them surrender an average of just 61 points per game last season while allowing the opposition just 41 percent from the field ... Antonio Smith's 306 rebounds last year made him just the sixth different Spartan ever to snatch 300 or more boards in a season ... MSU sported a 16-3 record when leading at the half in 1996-97 and own a 29-6 ledger in those affairs during Izzo's stint as head coach.
NEXT UP FOR THE SPARTANS --
Following the season-opener against East Tennessee State on Monday, the next action for the Green and White cagers will be on Friday, November 21, when it plays at Illinois-Chicago starting at 9:00 p.m. (EST).