Kelvin Torbert led the way with 17 points off the bench; Chris Hill added 14 points and Paul Davis chipped in with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The win was the first for MSU after three straight losses to top-ten (Duke, Oklahoma and Kentucky) ranked teams.
While South Florida coach Robert McCullum was happy with his team effort, he pointed to the Spartans second half run as the difference in the ball game.
"There was a stretch (in the second half), I don't recall how much time was remaining, but we cut (the point difference) to nine points. As I recall, there were three defensive stops during that stretch where we could not score. That was a great opportunity and I thought that, at that point, we still had a fighting chance because we were down to nine points and we took the ball three straight times. We were unable to take advantage of those opportunities and (MSU) pushed (the point difference) back to 13 or 14."
While happy with the win, MSU coach Tom Izzo was not happy with the continued turnovers by his team.
"I was pleased by the way we started. I thought we really brought some energy the first seven or eight minutes then we kind of settled back a little bit and then did a heck of a job offensively before the half. I thought moving the ball and hitting open men and doing a lot of good things. Then we just didn't play very well in the second half, especially the first five minutes. I think they went on a 15-1 run, had four or five turnovers. Sometimes that happens and that is a little disappointing."
Izzo praised Torbert for his play off the bench after suffering a death in his family earlier in the week. "I'm happy for Kelvin Torbert," said Izzo, "because it was a rough day for him, his uncle died and he was at the funeral this afternoon, so it was great to see him bounce back. He had a pretty good day from the field and he also had six rebounds."
The MSU coach still expects improvement from the #25 Spartans before it faces unranked UCLA in Los Angeles. "We turned the ball over too much at the wrong positions and our interior defense was still not very good. So those are the areas we are going to have to question."