EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Michigan State took advantage of a break in a brutal early season schedule to get back in the win column.
Kelvin Torbert scored 17 points off the bench and Chris Hill added 14 as the 25th-ranked Spartans defeated South Florida, 73-60, to snap a three-game losing streak.
Michigan State (4-4) had dropped under .500 for the first time since 1995-96, coach Tim Izzo's first season. But its four losses came to Kansas, Duke, Oklahoma and Kentucky, all of whom were ranked in the top 15.
Even in victory, Izzo was not be satisfied with the Spartans' performance. Michigan State built a 42-19 halftime lead but allowed South Florida to start the second half with a 15-1 spurt to close within 43-34 on Brian Swift's 3-pointer with 15:30 remaining.
"We turned the ball over too much at the wrong positions and our interior defense still was not very good," Izzo said. "So those are the areas we are going to have to question."
Terrence Leather scored 25 points and Bradley Mosley contributed 23 for South Florida (3-4), which got no closer than nine points in the second half. Leather also grabbed 11 rebounds.
"I was proud of my guys for not quitting and for hanging in there because the first half could not have been worse," South Florida coach Robert McCullum said. "I thought it showed a lot of guts to come out and fight the way we did in the second half."
After shooting 59 percent (16-of-27) in the first half, the Spartans cooled off to 41 percent (11-of-27) in the second half.
"We need to get mentally tough, find ways to go out and play hard for 40 minutes," Tolbert said. "That's something we haven't done all year."
South Florida closed to 58-47 on Mosley's 3-pointer with 7:32 remaining, but Michigan State put away the contest with a 10-4 spurt. The Spartans opened a 68-51 lead on Torbert's two free throws with 3:10 to go.
Five players scored in double figures for Michigan State. Paul Davis recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds while Shannon Brown and Alan Anderson contributed 10 points apiece.
"The whole team had a different mind-set tonight," Davis said. "I think that's what you saw in the first half. We have to continue that in the second half and all the way through in order for this team to get moving."