Dawson, Payne sit out half for MSU after incident
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)
Spartans coach Tom Izzo said no charges would be filed following the scuffle that started with the off-campus roommates needling each other and led to a dented wall. Dawson and Payne will pay for any property damage.
They sat out the first half and opening minutes of the second half. Payne finished with 20 points and seven rebounds to help the 18th-ranked Spartans pull away in an 81-72 win.
Dawson said the scuffle began over comments he made to assistant coaches about leaving practice gear in his room.
''It kind of got out of hand,'' Dawson said. ''We deserved it.''
Dawson (10.5 points) has started all 17 games this season. Payne (8.5 points) has started six, but has come off the bench recently.
''There were a couple words that escalated into an incident, a tussle. We were tussling and bumped into a wall,'' Payne said. ''I feel embarrassed and want to apologize to Penn State and our program.''
Penn State authorities have not named the players. Police Chief Tyrone Parham said officers responded Wednesday morning to a call from front desk staff at the Nittany Lion Inn of a report of an altercation on the second floor of the campus hotel, but Michigan State players had just boarded the bus for the Jordan Center by the time officers arrived.
Players were questioned off the bus. Parham said what started as a verbal argument escalated into punches being exchanged.
Both players had minor cuts and declined medical attention. Parham said Wednesday afternoon that the incident was under investigation and that both players were being considered victims.
Izzo also apologized and did not condone his players' behavior. But he said the altercation drew heightened attention because of social media - at one point holding up his cellphone while speaking with reporters.
The scuffle was like other minor scraps that have occurred over the years between teammates at times, Izzo said.
''It was a disappointing thing, one of those things. ... Again don't take this wrong, but if it wasn't for the Twitter era, it would be just another day,'' Izzo said. ''Unfortunately, the fight was in a hallway.''