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Jan. 17, 1998

Spartans Come from Behind to Top Illinois

Game Statistics

Mateen Cleaves
Mateen Cleaves notched a career-high 27 points for the Spartans. (File Photo)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Mateen Cleaves scored a career-high 27 points, including 17 of Michigan State's first 19 second half points, as the Spartans defeated Illinois 68-64 on Saturday.

The Spartans (11-4, 4-1 Big Ten) have won seven of their last eight games and retained a share of the Big Ten lead with the victory over the Fighting Illini (11-7, 3-2).

Michigan State trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and fell behind 35-27 at halftime. But the Spartans came out strong in the second half and outscored the Illini 19-10 to take their first lead of the game, 46-45, on Cleaves' 3-pointer with 13 minutes left.

There were six lead changes before Jason Klein's three broke a 60-60 tie with 2:32 remaining, putting Michigan State ahead to stay.

Illinois closed to within 63-62 on two free throws by Matt Heldman with 1:04 left, but Klein hit a free throw with 28.7 seconds to go. He missed the second, but Morris Peterson got the rebound and passed to Cleaves, who was fouled and made both free throws with 24.9 seconds left, giving Michigan State a 66-62 advantage.

Klein finished with 13 points for Michigan State and Peterson added 12.

Jerry Hester led Illinois with 14 points, while Brian Johnson, Heldman and Kevin Turner scored 12 apiece.

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