Branden Dawson stands by denial of punching claim

USA TODAY Sports

The former Purdue recruit denies he hit Boilermaker forward Travis Carroll.

When the No. 22 Michigan State Spartans took care of the Purdue Boilermakers 84-61 on Saturday, Purdue fans weren't talking about the loss afterwards. They thought former Purdue recruit and Indiana native Branden Dawson attempted to punch Travis Carroll after jockeying for position following a Gary Harris three pointer in the second half. The Big Ten Conference reviewed the video and cleared Dawson but that hasn't stopped Purdue fans from crying foul.

There's a little extra fanning of flames because Dawson left his home state to play for Tom Izzo and the Spartans. This isn't the first time Dawson has sparred with Purdue's team. Last season, he and Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter exchanged words while playing in East Lansing. Although no video shows Dawson making any contact with Carroll in this situation, Purdue fans went after Dawson through social media after the game. For his part, Dawson doesn't understand why he's receiving the hate.

It was just crazy what they were saying, and I was just kind of bummed out about it because I'm a great guy. I'm a nice guy, and I wouldn't do anything to hurt any other player. Coach just told me stay off of it, don't worry about what they were saying.

Matt Painter didn't say much about the alleged incident on the Big Ten coaches conference call. A Michigan State spokesman told ESPN the school has another video angle that clears Dawson of any wrongdoing.

The sophomore from Gary, IN is averaging 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest in his second season with the Spartans.

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