FLASHBACK: Nik Stauskas lights up Michigan State in back-to-back meetings

Michigan is just 8-12 in their last 20 meetings with in-state rival Michigan State on the hardwood going back to February of 2007. The rivalry was at a real peak from January of 2012 to March of 2014, a span of eight games where both the Wolverines and Spartans were ranked in said matchups.

In that time frame, Michigan had a slim 4-3 advantage over their rivals from East Lansing, including a three-game winning streak. Two of those wins came late in the 2013-14 campaign. And at the center of those two affairs was former Michigan sharp-shooter Nik Stauskas.

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The Canadian-born Stauskas of Lithuanian descent was a rather highly-touted prospect from the land of our friends to the north, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward hybrid rated as a 4-star recruit. He joined a Michigan program that finished rather disappointingly — losing in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament as No. 4 seed — after finishing tied atop the Big Ten at the end of the regular season.

Enter Stauskas and a returning a core headlined by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. All three turned out to be quite a trio for the Wolverines during their time in Ann Arbor. Stauskas himself stayed just two seasons at Michigan before bolting for the NBA. But he left his mark, especially on the rivalry against Michigan State, particularly in his second and final season in two meetings with the Spartans.

Stauskas’ final tally for his two game regular season stretch against MSU: 44 points, 16-25 shooting, 8-11 from deep.

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Stauskas in 75 career games over two seasons with the Wolverines averaged 14.1 points per game, shooting better than 44 percent from beyond three-point land and over 83 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe. It’s safe to say he did indeed live up to his hype of being a sharp shooter indeed.

The standout sophomore year for Stauskas earned him All-American (consensus second-team) and All-Big Ten (first-team) honors, as well as being named Big Ten Player of the Year. He helped lead Michigan to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament.

Stauskas parlayed that success into becoming the No. 8 overall selection for the Sacramento Kings in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was traded to Philadelphia after his rookie year and is currently in his third season with the 76ers, primarily as the role of a deep reserve off the bench. Over 228 career NBA games, Stauskas has averaged 7.4 PPG and hit 34.3 percent of his three-point attempts.

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