Branden Dawson puts clamps on Valpo’s Ryan Broekhoff
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or email@example.com March 21, 2013 7:52PM
Michigan State's Branden Dawson pulls down a rebound over Valparaiso's Matt Kenney in the first half during NCAA Tournament play at The Palace in Auburn Hills Thursday afternoon. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:35PM
AUBURN HILLS — Ryan Broekhoff was dogged all day.
Who did the dogging? None other than 2011 Lew Wallace graduate Branden Dawson. Dawson held Broekhoff to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting. Broekhoff was 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Broekhoff said Dawson’s length bothered him.
“He’s a fantastic athlete,” Broekhoff said. “He’s long and athletic and quick. He was getting through screens very well. I was able to shake through a few times. With his length, I kind of rushed my shot a little bit at the end. He did a tremendous job guarding me.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said the Spartans turned up the defense after a bit of a slow start.
MSU outscored Valparaiso 22-4 after the game was tied 8-8. A dunk by Dawson, which put the Spartans ahead 18-10 with 9:23 left, also forced one of three timeouts by VU in the run. Dawson said one of the keys was to stop Broekhoff.
“He’s very versatile,” Dawson said. “We were watching for him. He plays the floor but we look at him as a big guy. He was coming off the pick and rolls and he was bringing the ball up court. I’d say myself and Adreian Payne played solid.
Keith Appling, Dawson’s teammate, said that he “did a great job on Broekhoff. I thought he did a great job of trailing him and contesting his shots throughout the game.”
Offensively, Dawson was sharp — something Izzo hopes he doesn’t lose. He finished with seven points and six rebounds in 31 minutes on 3-of-6 shooting.
“He got some big rebounds,” Izzo said. “His spin move — he hasn’t done that. The balance — I thought he made some nice kickouts. And he felt more comfortable. He was really engaged. I bet you in the first half, he was one of my favorite guys in the huddle. He was really engaged and after a lot of people in there.”