NEW YORK -- It had been five games and more than two weeks since Georgetown won a game, so it seemed a bit daunting the Hoyas would end that streak on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Georgetown was facing Michigan State, the No. 7 team in the nation which had lost only once in the last 13 games and hadn't lost on the road all season.

But the Spartans were again short-handed, missing two starters, and the Hoyas took advantage by ending their five-game losing streak with a 64-60 victory.

Markel Starks scored 16 points and Georgetown held off a late Michigan State surge.

"That's a good win," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "I feel that way regardless of who the opposition was to tell you the truth. The way we have been going, that is a good win against a very good team.

"I told the team before the game, 'Let's not come in here and have to listen to me give a speech after the game.' We went out and played hard."

Starks, a senior guard, scored 10 points in the second half and was helped out by 12 points and eight rebounds from sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and 10 points from junior forward Mikael Hopkins.

The Hoyas (12-9) were able to overcome 20 points from Michigan State sophomore guard Gary Harris, who was held to three points in the first half.

Guard Denzel Valentine added 11 points for the Spartans and forward Kenny Kaminski scored 10.

"Disappointing, but not upsetting," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "And realizing what I've said since the day I got this job, 'Players play, tough players win.'

"When I die, I hope they put that on my tombstone, because it'll be the same up in heaven. Tough angels are going to be better than those other ones. But it hasn't changed since day one. Today, we got out-toughed."

Much of that was evident on the glass, as Georgetown held a 37-30 advantage on the boards, including grabbing 15 offensive rebounds, the biggest coming in the final minutes when junior guard Jabril Trawick tipped in a Starks miss to give the Hoyas a lead the Spartans could not overcome.

"It was great that everybody contributed in the front court," senior forward Nate Lubick said. "(Michigan State) is notorious for their rebounding and their physical toughness in the paint and their offensive rebounding specifically.

"We beat them up pretty good on the boards and that was a big point of emphasis for us."

Michigan State (19-3) led at the break, but Georgetown opened the second half outscoring Michigan State, 11-2, to take a 40-32 lead, the biggest of the game for any team at that point.

The Spartans bounced back and started to come to life on a full-court drive and dunk by Harris to cut the Hoyas' lead to five with a little under 13 minutes to play.

Michigan State managed to get to within 48-45 with 6:45 to play, but Valentine missed a 3-point shot that would have tied the game and then missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Harris added a 3-pointer, but it was sandwiched by two impressive pull-up jumpers from Starks to keep the Hoyas in front, 52-48.

"We were getting good shots down the stretch, but we just kept missing them," Valentine said. "We shot 38 percent and turned the ball over 15 times. You can't do that against a good team and expect to win the game."

It went back and forth over the final few minutes, as Harris drew a foul to get to the line and split two free throws before Hopkins dunked on a pick-and-roll and Harris scored on a runner.

Hopkins followed with two free throws to put Georgetown up, 56-51, but Harris nailed another 3-pointer with 1:32 to play to make it a two-point game.

However, that's when Trawick tipped in Starks' miss and Michigan State turned the ball over in the final minute. Starks then split two free throws and the Hoyas eventually put the game away at the free-throw line.

"You're not going to beat Michigan State or any team in the Big East if you aren't physically tough," Thompson said. "You need to be tough enough to make the hustle plays, run down loose balls, run down the long rebounds and have communication on defense.

"Traditionally through the years their team has been one of the more physical teams in the country and I thought we met the challenge today."

And while Michigan State played without forward Adreian Payne, who missed his seventh straight game because of a sprained right foot, and forward Branden Dawson, out because of a broken hand, Izzo wasn't about to use it as an excuse.