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Two Michigan State starters involved in altercation prior to Wednesday’s game

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Adreian Payne (left) and Branden Dawson (right) (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Whatever Michigan State coach Tom Izzo planned for the Spartans' game-day preparation in advance of Wednesday night's visit to Penn State, it's probably safe to say this wasn't it.

Center Adreian Payne and forward Branden Dawson engaged in an altercation Wednesday morning in the second-floor lobby of the team's hotel in State College, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo confirmed. Neither will start Wednesday night's game against the Nittany Lions as a result.

The altercation between the two off-campus roommates at Michigan State began with verbal sparring but quickly turned physical, Penn State police chief Tyrone Parham told MLive.com. The players exchanged punches to the face and one shoved the other into a wall with enough force to cause minor damage.

Parham told Mlive.com that both players suffered minor cuts but required no further medical attention. The police were called but no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.

In a release from Michigan State, Izzo described both players as "sincerely remorseful." He added that both will pay for the property damage they caused.

Altercations like this aren't especially unusual considering players spend so much time together, but the timing of this one was especially poor.

Michigan State hasn't played up to its potential despite a 14-3 record and hoped to use Wednesday's visit to struggling Penn State as a chance to get in sync prior to a five-game gauntlet featuring matchups with Ohio State, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Furthermore, the Spartans were going to experiment with a big starting lineup with Payne and Derrick Nix inside and Dawson at small forward instead of power forward.

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