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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Tom Izzo benches two starters

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Michigan State guard Branden Dawson and center Adreian Payne each sat out the first half of Wednesday night's game at Penn State  because of a scuffle the two players were involved in earlier in the day at the Nittany Lion Inn, the school announced.

Coach Tom Izzo had planned to start Dawson, Payne and Derrick Nix in a big lineup against the Nittany Lions.

Payne entered the game with about 16:30 left in the second half and finished with 20 points in the Spartans' 81-72 win.

Dawson had five points in 14 minutes.

Izzo released a statement through the school: "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."

The Penn State University police were investigating the incident. MLive.com reported that police chief Tyrone Parham said the two players started with a verbal altercation that turned physical with punches in the "area of the face," and one shoved another "into a wall in the second-floor lobby."

Parham told the site that no charges had been filed and neither player needed medical attention. The incident happened around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.