Dec. 22, 1997

Spartans Too Much for Eastern Illinois

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State forward Antonio Smith powered the Spartans to an 81-69 win over Eastern Illinois on Saturday with 14 points and a season-high 15 rebounds.

Smith photo

Smith led a balanced Spartans attack that had four players score in double figures. Jason Klein led all scorers with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, while Mateen Cleaves scored 15 and DuJuan Wiley added 10.

The Panthers kept the game close by making 22-of-31 free throws and only trailed 69-61 with 4:07 left to play, but the Spartans iced the win with a late 8-0 run.

The Spartans shot 46.9 percent (30-64) from the floor and outrebounded the Panthers 45-27.

One sore spot for Michigan State was the team's continuing struggles from the foul line shooting just 56 percent (13-of-23). The Spartans connected on 8-of-17 3-pointers (47.1 percent).

The Panthers finished shooting 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field and had 20 turnovers as a team.

Cleaves finished with a game-high seven assists, but was plagued with five turnovers.

Jake Owens led the Panthers (5-5) with 15 points.

The Spartans (7-3) open the Big Ten season Tuesday against Purdue.