BRESLIN CENTER — This would have been a crippling defeat for Michigan State, had it fallen at home to lowly Nebraska.
Perhaps no one else in the Big Ten will take that loss on their home court.
However, the bigger story from this one — beyond MSU’s 66-56 narrow home escape (much closer than the score) — is Branden Dawson’s injury scare and, that it appears to have only been a scare.
With 14 minutes left, Dawson stole the ball and looked as if he’d cruise in for a dunk. But as he came down, his knee buckled, sending him sprawling on the court and clutching his left knee.
But what looked like redux of last March 4, when he tore his ACL, wasn’t.
Dawson returned to the court three minutes later, jogging up to coach Tom Izzo on the bench and then checking to a standing ovation.
MSU’s season almost ended tonight, in some ways. Minus Dawson, this isn’t a team capable of much of a run.
The question of whether it is with him remains, as well. But at least MSU can figure it out at 3-1 in the Big Ten.
The pressing issue now might be the health of freshman Gary Harris, whose left shoulder popped out the other night against Iowa. He played with a brace tonight and finished 1-for-11, with one huge three, but otherwise didn’t look like himself offensively. Like Dawson, Harris’ health is paramount to this MSU season.
Izzo said afterward, “In no way shape or form am I concerned about Gary Harris.”