Michigan State Spartans guard Brandon Wood (30) reacts to a play against Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half at Jack Breslin Students Events Center. Ohio state won 72-70. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

Spartans to step it up in absence of Branden Dawson

Who knew Branden Dawson’s season-ending injury would lead to even more solidarity for the Michigan State basketball team? But it seems like the team is rallying around the team’s loss.

With Dawson out — and his surgery already done three weeks ahead of time — it’s going to take more than one player to step up in his absence.

Several of the players were asked Wednesday about their increased role moving forward, here is what to expect Friday when the Spartans play the winner between Iowa and Illinois in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

Brandon Wood

Izzo said Wood would most likely take over the starting job of Dawson. It’s a good fit as he was a starter most all of his career at Valparaiso.

“Now I’m going to be held more accountable to guard the best player every game,” Wood said, “something I’m looking forward to.”

Brandon Kearney

Kearney has had an up and down freshman season, mostly because he has not got the minutes to produce any type of consistency. When he has played, he has been able to produce with long-range shooting and his defense.

Other options

Adreian Payne is also expected to play an increased role and it might not be from making more baskets.

“I’m going to have to step up, mostly on defense and offensive rebounding,” Payne said. “(I need to) have a presence on the court and be able to play without fouling.”

Also look for Draymond Green to step up his game even more (if that’s possible).

Tags: Big Ten Basketball Branden Dawson Michigan State Michigan State Basketball Michigan State Spartans

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