The Spartans' three-game losing streak suddenly feels like ancient history.
No. 11 Michigan State made a statement that it isn't going anywhere as far as championship contention is concerned, scoring a big 74-65 win over No. 7 Maryland on Saturday in East Lansing.
The Spartans dominated the glass and played stellar defense, also getting huge performances from Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes to power the win.
After a slow start on both sides, the teams were tied at 14 with about eight and a half minutes left in the first half. From there, Michigan State went on an 11-3 run to build an eight-point lead, and things stayed roughly there as the teams traded scores heading into halftime. The Spartans had a six-point edge at the break as both teams struggled to eclipse 35-percent shooting over the first 20 minutes. Valentine and Forbes teamed for 23 of Michigan State's 35 first-half points.
[MORE BIG TEN: Michigan gets solid road win as Huskers see win streak snapped]
The Terps were red hot to start the second half. They hit their first six shots and started the period on a 17-7 run to turn a six-point halftime deficit into a four-point lead in four minutes. The Spartans responded with eight straight points to streak back in front, and the game was tied at 53 at the midway point of the second half. From there, Michigan State used a 9-0 surge powered by Valentine, Forbes and Costello to reach its largest lead of the game with six and a half minutes to play.
The Terps went five minutes without a made basket, though some key free throws during that stretch allowed Melo Trimble's 3-pointer with five minutes left to make it just a three-point game. Costello followed with four straight free throws, and he was big down the stretch grabbing rebounds and blocking shots. Maryland got as close as three a couple more times in the final minutes, but Michigan State made its free throws to hold on for the win.
The Spartans shot just 36.1 percent from the field but had a 46-36 rebounding advantage, including 17 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points. They also made 23 free throws, 10 more than the Terps. Michigan State also had 18 fastbreak points.
Forbes was the leading scorer with 25 points, including 12 on four made 3-pointers. But Valentine and Costello stood out with double-doubles. Valentine scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, also handing out eight assists. Costello scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, making more headlines though for his ebullient displays of emotion as the game wound down, including his lifting and twirling hug of head coach Tom Izzo when he was removed from the game in the final seconds.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]
Maryland shot 38.6 percent from the field, the Terps' second-lowest mark of the season. The 29.7-percent mark from 3-point range was the seventh-lowest of the season.
Trimble led the way for Maryland with 24 points and also grabbed seven rebounds. Robert Carter was the only other Terp in double figures with 13 points.
The win sent the Spartans to 17-4 overall and 4-4 in Big Ten play. Michigan State gets games against Northwestern and Rutgers next week before heading to Ann Arbor for a rivalry game against Michigan on Feb. 7.
The Terps dropped to 17-3 on the season and 6-2 in league play with the loss. Next up for Maryland is a huge Thursday-night battle with Iowa.