Branden Dawson

Michigan State’s Branden Dawson denies that he punched Purdue’s Travis Carroll

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Branden Dawson a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds in Michigan State’s win over Purdue on Saturday, but his stat line wasn’t the focus of the conversation after the game.

Instead, the conversation has centered around this, video footage that some believe shows Dawson getting in a physical altercation with Purdue’s Travis Carroll and throwing a punch at him late in Michigan State’s blowout victory.

The Big Ten has reviewed the tape and decided there is no conclusive evidence of a punch being thrown and, thus, will not discipline Dawson. On Tuesday, Dawson responded and explained how he saw the situation, via MLive.com.

“Travis Carroll, he came down, and he latched into me and kind of bumped me,” Dawson said. “The ball went in through the net, and he kept going. Our arms got tangled, and I kind of smacked down. We kind of had some words, and our guys were talking toward each other, so it got kind of chippy.

“With Purdue and their fans, it was just crazy because I wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone. I was just kind of bummed out about it.”

Did Dawson throw a punch? Check out the hyperlink above and make your own judgment. As for Dawson, he and the Spartans go on the road to face Iowa on Thursday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: