The Michigan basketball team played just one game in the last week, but it was more than enough time for sophomore Nik Stauskas to stake his claim for Big Ten Player Of The Week.
Stauskas, who drilled Michigan State for a game-high 25 points in the Wolverines' 79-70 win, earned his third Big Ten Player Of The Week award of the season.
The sophomore sharpshooter won the award Jan. 21 after averaging 22.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in wins over Penn State and Wisconsin. It marked the first time Stauskas won Big Ten Player Of The Week honors in his career.
The following week, after consecutive wins over Iowa and Michigan State, Stauskas once again earned Big Ten Player Of The Week honors.
This time, Stauskas' award comes after he climbed out of a bit of a slump.
Prior to Sunday's win over Michigan State, Stauskas' numbers had trailed off in the last five contests, both shooting percentage and quantity.
In the first eight games of the conference season, Stauskas scored in the double digits every time. He shot better than 42 percent from the field in all but one game and shot at least 50.0 percent from the field in six of those eight games.
But against Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio State and Wisconsin (a stretch during which Michigan went 2-3), Stauskas shot a combined 13-of-35 from the field (37.1 percent).
After registering double-digit shot attempts in all but five of the team's first 20 games, Stauskas had shot fewer than 10 attempts in four of the last five, heading into Sunday's game.
And after 20 minutes of play against the Spartans, it looked like Stauskas would stay on the same track. At that point, he had attempted just three shots and had scored four points.
"I just came out with the mindset that I wasn't going to be stopped," Stauskas said after the game. "I tried to be aggressive, and Coach Beilein ran some sets for me to put me in one-on-one situations, and once I made a couple shots, I just kept going from there.
"In the first half, I only took three shots. I'm experiencing this so much, where every game, it seems like I am being contained. I came out and was just like, 'I'm done with this. I'm not going to be contained any more."
Stauskas exploded in the second half, finishing 9-of-13 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, for 25 points, five assists and three rebounds.
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