Pine Bluff did not score until 9:52 had expired and produced just 12 points in the first half while falling behind by 26.
Gary Harris led Michigan State with 13 points and Dawson had six of his 10 during the outburst that began the game.
Michigan State improved to 6-3 with its second straight victory. The Golden Lions (1-7) were led by DaVon Haynes with 20 points.
The Spartans made 50 percent of their shots from the field and held Pine Bluff to 27.8 percent.