Jan. 19, 1998

MSU's Mateen Cleaves Named Big Ten's Basketball Co-Player of the Week

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves has been chosen the Big Ten Conference Co-Player of the Week following his efforts in sparking MSU to a pair of league victories over Minnesota and Illinois, enabling the Spartans to maintain a share of first-place. Cleaves shares the award with Indiana's Luke Recker.

The 6-foot-2 Cleaves totaled 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and finished with seven assists in leading MSU to a 74-60 win at Minnesota last Wednesday (Jan. 14). Cleaves' effort helped the Spartans to a 50-34 scoring advantage in the second half and the 14-point win tied MSU's largest margin of victory at Williams Arena.

Against Illinois, he scored 24 of his career-high 27 points in the second half in a come-from-behind 68-64 win. Cleaves scored 17 points over a 5:37 span early in the second half with 12 of those points coming on four three-point field goals. He finished the game by hitting nine (tying career high)-of 16 field goal attempts including five (career best)-of-10 three-point field goal attempts. His second-half heroics rallied the Spartans from a 23-7 first-half deficit (7:49 remaining in the first half) and a 35-27 halftime disadvantage. His 27 points and five treys represented season highs by a Spartan player this year.

He shot 53.3 percent (16-of-30) from the floor in the two games, including 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from three-point range, and totaled 13 assists. At the start of this week, Cleaves is the only player in the Big Ten to rank among the top ten in points (6th, 16.5 ppg), assists (1st, 7.27 apg) and steals (5th, 2.00 spg).

MSU, 11-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten, plays at No. 12-ranked Iowa on Wednesday starting at 8:05 p.m. (EST).