Gary Harris poured in a team-high 20 points to lead 19th-ranked Michigan State past Loyola-Chicago, 73-61, on Saturday.
"I don't know if he realizes it yet, because he is a very unselfish kid," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Harris. "He has a chance to be a great player and tonight I thought he started getting his feet ready. People are starting to get a feel for one another."
Adreian Payne added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Keith Appling had eight points and seven assists for the Spartans (8-2), winners in three straight. Travis Trice chipped in with 11 points in the win.
Ben Averkamp dropped in a game-high 25 points and pulled down eight rebounds and Devon Turk had 10 points off the bench for the Ramblers (6-3), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
"I was proud that we got down 10 in the first half and there was no panic in the huddles; the guys kept on grinding," Loyola coach Porter Moser said. "We were a step slow, we were a little shaky with the ball and we haven't been shaky. I think we took a step in the right direction culture-wise but happy with the effort, disappointed with the outcome."
Michigan State led 22-12 following Payne's layup with just under eight minutes left in the first half, but an 18-3 run gave the Ramblers a 30-25 lead with 2 1/2 minutes to play in the opening stanza.
The Spartans scored the next five points to knot it up at 30, but Nick Osborne and Cully Payne each split a pair of free throws to send Loyola into the locker room holding a 32-30 lead.
Dawson's three-point play sparked a 15-5 run to give Michigan State a 52-41 lead with just over eight into the second half, but the Ramblers scored the next eight points, including a pair of triples from Averkamp, to cut the deficit to 52-49.
The Spartans used a 16-4 burst to take a commanding 68-53 lead with just under three minutes left. An Averkamp jumper, followed by Payne's triple, pulled Loyola within 10 points with 1:47 showing on the clock, but four straight Trice free throws stretched the MSU lead to 72-58.
Averkamp added a three-point play with just under a minute left, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Ramblers, who fell to 0-5 all-time in East Lansing.
MSU owns a 9-2 advantage in the all-time series ... The Spartans shot 48.9 percent from the field and held Loyola to 35.8 percent shooting ... Loyola's last game versus a ranked opponent was a 68-60 loss to then-No. 5 Kansas State on Dec. 11, 2010 ... The Ramblers are 33-111 all-time against ranked opponents.