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Nov. 29, 1997

Michigan State Takes on Gonzaga

GAME INFORMATION -- The Michigan State men's basketball team hopes to lay claim to the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic title this evening when it battles undefeated Gonzaga. The contest between the Spartans and Bulldogs will follow the consolation game between Central Michigan and Arkansas at Little Rock.

COVERAGE -- 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 Spartan head coach, Gus Ganakas, serves as analyst.

THE RECORDS -- MSU stands 2-1 following an 89-61 win over Central Michigan last evening. In that game, the Green and White shot a season-high 56.9 percent from the floor (33-of-58) while holding the Chippewas to 37 percent. MSU also enjoyed a healthy 47-18 advantage on the boards and had a pair of double-digit rebounders in sophomore David Thomas and junior Antonio Smith. Leading the scoring attack for the Spartans was sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves with 19 points, his second-highest total as a Spartan, and freshman Charlie Bell who tossed in 17 points. The 89 points by the Spartans represented the second-highest scoring effort by a Tom Izzo-coached team during his tenure as head coach.

Gonzaga enters its game vs. MSU with a 5-0 mark. The Bulldogs advanced to the title game by virtue of their 75-70 triumph over Arkansas at Little Rock. GU was trailing, 30-22, at halftime before shooting 54.5 percent from the floor in the second half in rallying for the win.

F -- #13    ANTONIO SMITH (Jr., 6-8, 8.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg)
F -- #11    DAVID THOMAS (So., 6-7, 8.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg)
F -- #34    ANDRE HUTSON (Fr., 6-8, 3.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
G -- #14    CHARLIE BELL (Fr., 6-3, 12.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
G -- #12    MATEEN CLEAVES (So., 6-2, 14.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 6.7 apg)
F -- #22    MIKE LEASURE (Jr., 6-7, 6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
F -- #32    BAKARI HENDRIX (Sr., 6-8, 15.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
C -- #30    AXEL DENCH (So., 6-11, 9.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
G -- #13    MATT SANTANGELO (So., 6-1, 13.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.2 apg)
G -- #24    RICHIE FRAHM (So., 6-5, 13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg)

THE OFFICIALS -- Randy Drury, Sid Rodeheffer and Mike Sanzere.

MSU LOOKS TO CONTINUE HOME WIN STREAK -- Heading into tonight's contest, MSU will be looking to keep its home winning streak, now at eight games, intact. In home games against teams outside the Big Ten Conference, the Green and White have claimed the last 11 meetings.

100th WIN AT BRESLIN COULD BE TONIGHT -- If Michigan State is able to top Gonzaga this evening, it would mark the school's 100th win at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center since the building opened in 1989. The most successful year for the Green and White at the BSEC was in 1994-95 when that club fashioned a 14-1 (.933) won-lost slate. Just for the record, MSU picked up its first win at the Breslin exactly eight years today (Nov. 29, 1989) with an 80-69 decision over Nebraska.

SERIES RECORDS -- Tonight's MSU-Gonzaga matchup will mark the first time the teams have ever met on the hardwood. The Spartans have split their last two games against squads from the West Coast Conference, losing to the Steve Nash-led Santa Clara team, 77-71 (Nov. 22, 1995) in the Maui Invitational, and defeating Loyola Marymount, 73-70 (Dec. 12, 1992) in the Los Angeles Classic.

THE COACHES -- Michigan State is guided by head coach Tom Izzo (Northern Michigan '77), who is in his third season at the helm of the program. Izzo has a school and career record of 35-29. In games at the Breslin Center, Izzo has posted a record of 25-9, 10-20 on the road.

Gonzaga Head Coach Dan Monson (Idaho '85) is in his first season leading the Bulldogs. Prior to his current post, Monson was an assistant at Gonzaga for nine seasons. He is the son of former Spartan assistant coach Don Monson (1976-77 through 1977-78).

BIG TEN TEAMS vs. NON-CONFERENCE FOES -- Through games played Nov. 28, Big Ten Teams had posted an overall record of 24-11 against non-league competition. Purdue has posted a 5-0 record while Ohio State (3-0), Iowa (2-0) and Penn State (2-0) were other undefeated league teams heading into Saturday's action. Last night MSU and Purdue were the only Big Ten winners in five games involving conference teams. Illinois (57-58 vs. Louisville), Indiana (65-82 vs. Hawaii) and Wisconsin (48-55 vs. Pacific) all came out on the short end of their games. Today/tonight eight Big Ten teams are in action.

TOM IZZO RADIO SHOW INFO -- Starting on Monday, Dec. 1, the Tom Izzo radio show can be heard throughout the state of Michigan on MSU basketball radio affiliates. The show will be held at Tripper's Sports Lounge on Mondays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

MSU SHOT BLOCKERS EFFECTIVE -- Through three games, Michigan State is averaging 7.3 blocked shots per game. Last night against Central Michigan, the Green and White registered six swats, the third straight game where it has blocked six or more opponent attempts. Last year after three contests, the Spartans had totaled 10 blocked shots and didn't reach 20 until the fifth game of the season. Leading MSU in blocked shots are senior DuJuan Wiley and freshman Andre Hutson, both with seven.

MSU AND THE BRESLIN CENTER -- MSU's win over Central Michigan raised its all-time record at the Breslin Center to 99-24 (.805) since the facility opened in 1989 (46-5 vs. non-conference opponents, 53-19 in Big Ten contests). MSU has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in 70 games at the Breslin Center while allowing the opposition to reach that mark on just 16 occasions.

SCHEDULING NOTE -- The starting time for the Michigan State-Detroit game on Saturday, December 13, will be 7:05 p.m. (EST)

QUICK FACTS -- After three games, MSU is shooting 50 percent (42-of-84) from the floor in the first half and 47.4 percent (46-of-97) in the second half ... Opponents are shooting 37 percent (30 of-81) from the field in the first half and 38.8 percent (33-of-85) over the final 20 minutes of action ... The Spartans have been outshot from the foul line in all three games and are connecting at just a 50.7 percent (35-of-69) vs. the opposition's effort of 73.4 percent (47-of-64) ... The Spartans are averaging 36.7 points in the first half of play (29.0 for opponents) and 39.7 points in the second half (34.3 for opponents).

MORSELS FOR MUSING -- Michigan State has won its last 12 games (1-0 in '97 98, 10-0 in 1996-97) when holding the opposition to 60 or fewer points, and stands 23-3 in such contests during Tom Izzo's tenure as head coach ... Since last season, the Spartans are 8-1 when scoring 80-plus points ... Antonio Smith claims eight career double-doubles ... Under Izzo, MSU is 31-6 when leading at halftime ... Dating from last year, MSU is 10-1 when the opposition has more turnovers ... Dating from last season, the Spartans have failed to shoot 70 percent or better from the foul line in the last nine contests ... Last night's effort of 56.9 percent from the floor vs. Central Michigan marked the best field goal shooting performance by a Tom-Izzo coached squad.

A NEW MAN ON THE ROSTER -- Senior Rob McKenzie (#15), who made this year's squad as a walk-on, saw a minute of action last evening against Central Michigan. McKenzie is a native of Dearborn Heights and graduated from Crestwood High School.


#11-- Sophomore David Thomas has started all three MSU games ... Leads the team in field goal percentage (10 or more attempts) with an effort of 61.9 percent (13-of-21) ... Came up with a career-high 10 boards against Central Michigan (11/28), tying him for team honors ... Career-high 10 points vs. Illinois-Chicago, hitting a career-best five-of six field goal attempts ... Established career highs in minutes (23) vs. East Tennessee (11/17) ... No. 2 on the team in boards vs. ETSU ... No. 2 on the team in rebounding (8.0 rpg) ... Has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in all three contests.

#12 -- Sophomore Mateen Cleaves leads the team in minutes (30.0 mpg), scoring (14.7 ppg) and assists (6.7 apg) ... Notched game-high 19 points and doled out season-high eight assists last night vs. CMU .. Shooting 46.1 percent (6-of-13) from three-point range last two games ... Team-highs in points (17) and assists (5) vs. Illinois-Chicago (11/21) ... Registered team-high seven assists vs. East Tennessee (11/17) ... Has 166 assists in 32 career contests (5.1 apg) ... Has led or shared for MSU's lead in assists in 27 of 32 career outings ... Scored in double figures in 18 outings during his career (16 in '96-97).

#13 -- Junior Antonio Smith paces the team in rebounding (9.3 rpg) ... Has led or shared for MSU rebounding honors in all three games including a 10-board performance last night vs. CMU ... Has a pair of double-digit rebounding outings this season ... Notched his eighth career double-double vs. ETSU (11/17) with 11 points and 10 boards ... Has 21 career contests of 10 or more boards and five of 15-plus caroms ... Third-Team All-Big Ten pick last year.

#14 -- Freshman Charlie Bell is No. 2 on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) ... No. 2 on the squad in scoring against CMU with a career-best 17 points ... Is the only Spartan to have at least one steal in all three contests ... Paced the team in scoring vs. ETSU (11/17) with 15 points while also chipping in seven boards and two assists ... His point total marked the first time that a true frosh had led MSU in scoring in a season opener since Jay Vincent's 25 points vs. Central Michigan (11/28/77).

#30 -- Freshman Doug Davis has played a total of 30 minutes as a reserve in MSU's three games ... Hit a trey en route to three points in nine minutes vs. Central Michigan ... 13 minutes off the bench vs. ETSU (11/17) and scored eight points while dishing out three assists. One of four finalists for the state of Ohio's Mr. Basketball Award.

#34 -- Freshman Andre Hutson is averaging 16.7 minutes after three games ... Averaging 4.7 rebounds ... Made first career start against CMU and played a season-long 21 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing five boards ... Tied for No. 1 on the club in blocked shots with seven ... 13-minute stint vs. Illinois-Chicago where he chalked up three rebounds and two blocks ... 16 minutes off the bench vs. ETSU (11/17) and grabbed six boards, tops among the reserves ... Blocked three ETSU shot attempts.

#42 -- Sophomore Morris Peterson is averaging 4.3 points and 3.3 boards after three games ... Played a season-long 18 minutes last night vs. CMU and scored two points ... Posted four rebounds and six points in 16 minutes vs. Illinois-Chicago ... Played 14 minutes vs. ETSU (11/17), scoring five points ... Played in 29 games last season, 18 as a starter ... Has scored in double figures on five occasions in his career, all of which came last year ... Four of his double figure scoring efforts have come at home.

#43 -- Sophomore A.J. Granger has come off the bench in MSU's first three games and is averaging 13.7 minutes ... Saw a 10-minute stint vs. Central Michigan and scored four points ... 18 minutes at Illinois-Chicago (11/21) and snatched five boards, tops among the subs, and tying his personal best ... 13 minutes of action vs. ETSU (11/17) and and finished with five points and three rebounds.

#44 -- Junior Jason Klein has come off the bench in the first three games and is the top scoring reserve with a 9.7 points per game average (No. 3 on the squad) ... Leads the team in three-point field goals with eight ... Picked up a season-high 11 points in 17 minutes against Central Michigan last night ... Sank three treys against the Chippewas, tying his career high ... Has two or more treys in all three contests this year ... Played a career-long 29 minutes vs. Illinois-Chicago (11/21) and hit three treys en route to nine points ... Registered 21 minutes as a reserve vs. ETSU and notched nine points, tops among the subs ... Eleven career games of two or more treys, five coming last year.

#55 -- Senior DuJuan Wiley started the first two MSU games and is averaging 14.7 minutes ... Tied for team's lead in blocked shots with seven ... Hit all three field goal attempts and scored seven points against Central Michigan (11/28) ... Four points and two blocks in 16 minutes vs. Illinois-Chicago (11/21) ... First career start came in the ETSU (11/17) game where he played a career-long 20 minutes while finishing with a personal-best six caroms ... Tied career high in blocked shots with four ... Paced the team in blocked shots with 19 in '96-97.

STREAKS OF NOTE -- Junior forward Antonio Smith has started the last 30 Spartan contests while sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves has the starting nod in MSU's last 27 encounters ... Dating from last year, the Spartans have made three or more three-point field goals in their last 13 games ... Dating from last year, Smith has either led or shared for the team's rebounding lead in the last 12 outings.

ON THE HORIZON -- Following the Gonzaga game, MSU's next action will be against Temple on Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Breslin Center starting at 7:30 p.m.

SPARTAN DEFENDERS HOLDING FIRM -- MSU has been stingy in terms of field goal percentage defense in the first three games, not allowing any opponent to shoot 40 percent from the floor. Through three games the opposition has shot just 38.0 percent (63-of-166) from the floor.

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