Dawson "tremendous" in win against Indiana

Senior forward plays big on both ends of the court against Hoosiers, which makes everything click for the Spartans

Being from the state of Indiana, there is something to playing teams from his home state for Branden Dawson.

“Denzel (Valentine) and I were just talking about that,” Dawson said. “We watched the game from last year with Gary (Harris) just did a great job. As far as Indiana teams, we just come to play.

”I don’t know what it is, but it’s always good to go up against those guys.”

In the latest meeting with a team from Indiana, Dawson provided plenty on both ends of the court for Michigan State in its 70-50 win against Indiana on Monday night.

He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds and brought a defensive presence and energy in an overall performance that Travis Trice said makes everyone else’s job a lot easier.

“He is one of those specials talents where his play makes it easier on everyone else on the court, whether it’s rebounding, blocking shots or rebounding, hitting the outlet real quick and getting down the court,” Trice said.

Coach Tom Izzo called the performance “phenomenal” and said Dawson was a key to the energy he team played with.

”A lot of switching he had to do, he had to guard point guards and he was guarding a bunch of different guys,” Izzo said. “I just thought he was good. Still rebounded and still found a way to get ten shots up.”

On the defensive end, Dawson held Indiana forward Troy Williams scoreless and to just one rebound.

“Really, I always step up to competition,” Dawson said. “Williams, he is definitely improved a lot from last year. He is good with the ball and he plays hard and I watched a lot of film on him the night before because the kid can score and he is an attacker and he is good with the ball. I just kept telling myself that I have to do a great job on him. That’s what I did. Stayed solid and didn’t reach.”

But his presence overall had a big impact, which was well noted by his teammates.

“He is one of those guys that can do it all,” Trice said. “When he plays like that, it’s easy for us to get up on teams because he changes the game.”

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