An altercation involving Michigan State basketball players Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson on Wednesday morning at the Nittany Lion Inn is under investigation by the Penn State University Police, according to Chief of Police Tyrone Parham.
Both players punched each other in the face, Parham said. One shoved the other into a wall, causing damage to the wall. Both of them have cuts on their faces, but declined medical attention. The incident remains under investigation.
Parham said no charges have been filed against either party. The No. 18 Spartans face Penn State tonight at 7 at the Jordan Center in a Big Ten Network telecast.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo issued this state through the university:
"A scuffle that began as two players needling each other resulted in a dented wall. We'll deal with this appropriately, and the players will willingly accept responsibility for paying for any property damage. I've spent my entire afternoon meeting with the players involved and they are both sincerely remorseful. What makes matters even more confusing is that they are off-campus roommates. As a result of their actions neither one will start tonight's game."
Dawson is a starting forward who has sparked the team in his last three games by averaging 14.3 points in those games. Payne usually comes off the bench to back up center Derrick Nix. Payne also plays power forward and shares the team rebound lead with Nix at 7.2 per game.
Alex Gauna and Brian Costello are candidates to start at forward in place of Dawson. A three-guard starting lineup of Keith Appling, Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine is a distinct possibility.
Izzo didn't rule out either Dawson or Payne playing in the game as reserves.
Parham said police were called at 11:11 a.m. after a verbal argument began between the players on a second floor rotunda. The players were on a team bus when police arrived.
We got the two players off the bus to investigate, Parham said. They had been on their way to a walk-through practice at the Jordan Center.