EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- The schedule got a little tougher at the Breslin Center, and 14th-ranked Michigan State responded too late.
Nick Moore scored 19 points as Toledo posted an 81-76 triumph over the Spartans, who had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Michigan State (8-3) had not lost since falling to Oklahoma State and Villanova in last month's Great Alaska Shootout. The Spartans' home victims included Jacksonville State, Cleveland State and Loyola-Chicago, who provided little resistance.
Toledo was not about to become another victim as it took a 41-38 halftime lead and outscored Michigan State, 19-12, over the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half to open a 60-50 advantage.
"Obviously we are happy with the win tonight," said Toledo coach Stan Joplin, who served as an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1990-96. "I'm glad we won, but at the same time, I was a coach here for six years and I know a lot of people. So it's just nice to come back here.
"There's really no surprise here today," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "There are a lot of reasons that I want to get on my team, but Toledo outplayed us. They outshot us and outworked us and I thought we got outcoached. So that kind of takes care of all four factors."
However, Toledo had to hold off a late charge by Michigan State. Led by Chris Hill and Kelvin Torbert, the Spartans slowly rallied and tied the game twice in the final two minutes.
Torbert's 3-pointer forged a 74-74 tie with one minute remaining and Adam Ballinger's jumper from the left side got the Spartans within 77-76 with 20 seconds to go.
"We had a chance all the way through," Hill said. "A positive is that for the most part, I think everybody thought we were going to win all the way down to the end. Give them credit because they hit some big shots and some big free throws."
But the Rockets (7-4), who had a five-game winning streak snapped Saturday, made seven consecutive free throws and forced a turnover with six seconds remaining to clinch the win.
"As a senior this is a game, you play your whole four years for," Moore said. "To beat a team this highly ranked, it's a great, great thing."
Trailing, 79-76, with seconds left, Michigan State ran a play for Ballinger. But a defender intercepted Hill's pass in the low post. The turnover forced teammate Alan Anderson to foul Moore, who sank both shots.
The Spartans' last lead was 44-43 on a basket by Aloysius Anagonye with 18:57 remaining. On its next trip, Karee Milson's layup started a 10-1 run and shortly thereafter the Rockets took their largest lead, 65-52, with 10:13 remaining.
The Rockets overcame 18 turnovers, making 11-of-25 3-pointers and holding the Spartans to 43.5 percent (10-of-23) shooting from the floor in the second half.
"On the road you have to play tough," Toledo guard Keith Triplett said. "We played as a team. We rebounded, we hit our free throws when we were supposed to and played together as a team."