Feb. 2, 1998

Mateen Cleaves Named Big Ten Basketball Player of the Week

EAST LANSING, MI -- For the second time in three weeks, Michigan State sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves has been chosen as the Big Ten Conference's Player of the Week following his efforts in helping the Spartans to victories over Indiana and Northwestern.

The 6-foot-2 Cleaves recorded 10 points and a career-high 13 assists last Wednesday (Jan. 28) in aiding an 84-66 win at home against Indiana. Cleaves' assists total against the Hoosiers tied the second-highest individual game total in MSU history and represented the first time since March 18, 1979, that a Spartan player had that many assists in a game (Earvin Johnson had 13 vs. Notre Dame).

In the Northwestern game, Cleaves scored 32 of his career-high 34 points in the second half and overtime in leading the Spartans to a 72-66 win. After going just one-of-six from the floor and scoring two points in the first half, Cleaves sank nine-of-14 field goals, including six-of-eight from three-point range in helping rally the Spartans from a seven-point deficit in the second half. It was his driving layup with 10 seconds remaining that tied the game at 55-55, forcing the extra stanza. In the extra overtime, he tallied nine points.

In the two games, he was 15-of-34 from the field including six-of-13 from beyond the arc. He dished out 22 assists and chalked up 10 steals, six in the Northwestern game which tied his career best in that category.

Cleaves shared the similar honor with Indiana's Luke Recker two weeks ago after totaling 46 points and 13 assists in wins over Minnesota and Illinois.

MSU, ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press and No. 19 by USA Today/ESPN, takes an overall mark of 15-4 including an 8-1 in the Big Ten, good for first place, into a Wednesday game at Ohio State starting at 8:00 p.m.