Nov. 11, 1997
Spartans Top Ural-Great Team of Russia, 84-65
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Mateen Cleaves led four starters in double figures with 18 points as Michigan State cruised to an 84-65 exhibition victory over Ural-Great Team of Perm, Russia, Tuesday night before a crowd of 11,475 at the Breslin Center.
Ural jumped out to an 8-2 lead but the Spartans scored eight-straight points and took the lead for good at 10-8 on a layup by David Thomas. Michigan State's defense sparked a 10-2 run midway through the first half as the Spartans moved out to an 11-point lead at 35-24. The Spartans led by six at the intermission, 42-36.
Michigan State opened the second half with a 15-4 spurt to break the game open. A slam dunk by Thomas gave the Spartans their biggest lead at 82-59 with 3:36 left.
"I didnit think we looked very sharp, but we did a lot of experimenting," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "We looked helter-skelter and out of sync. All in all, I'm pleased because we won the game but we simply weren't as sharp as we were last week."
The Spartans got 13 points each from Thomas and Antonio Smith, while Charlie Bell contributed 10 points. Michigan State shot 58 percent (34-59) from the floor, including 65 percent (17-26) in the second half. The Spartans produced 33 points off 25 Ural turnovers.
"David Thomas had a solid game," Izzo said. "He does a little bit of everything. He got a steal, a couple of rebounds and hit some nice shots. David has been playing three perimeter positions and that can be tough on a young player. He has earned a spot somewhere in the starting lineup."
Roman Dvinianiov, who hit 10-of-13 shots from the floor and scored a game-high 27 points, was the only Ural player to reach double figures. Dvinianiov hit all four of his three-point field-goal attempts.
Ural is winless in five games on its U.S. tour, including three-straight losses to Big Ten teams (117-72 to Purdue and 93-68 to Michigan).
"Michigan State is a much faster team than Michigan," Ural head coach Pavel Googe said. "The defense is working better and the overall team organization is better. I think Michigan State has high potential and a good future."
The Spartans open the 1997-98 regular season against East Tennessee State in the Breslin Center on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
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