Dawson hauled down nine rebounds for the Spartans (12-1, 1-0 Big Ten), who rallied from a halftime deficit to outscore the Nittany Lions 39-16 after the break.
Keith Appling chipped in 14 points and Gary Harris added 13 for MSU.
Brandon Taylor paced Penn State (9-5, 0-1) with 18 points. D.J. Newbill added 17.
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