The Wolverines were trailing 36-34 to their in-state rival, and Michigan's leading scorer knew he had to be more "aggressive" if the Maize and Blue were to come out with a key Big Ten win.
"Without a doubt it was all mental change for me," Stauskas said on his attitude at halftime. "Nothing happened physically, just understanding I needed to be more aggressive to help this team win."
Aggressive indeed, as he would lead the Wolverines with 21 second-half points, on his way to a game-high 25 points, on just 9-of-13 shooting, as Michigan (19-7, 11-3 Big Ten) would defeat Michigan State 79-70 and take over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
"Shooters need to shoot, if I am only taking two or three shots in a half – then I am not going to be effective," Stauskas said, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week for his performance against the Spartans. "So I came out with that mentality that I need be more aggressive."
At times during the past month, Stauskas' numbers had dipped, but during Sunday's game against MSU, he said coach John Beilein drew up some plays to get him more involved in the offensive attack.
"Anytime he's specifically run plays for me, he's not going to want me to pass up shots he knows I can make," Stauskas said. "I'm just trying to be aggressive. You know, all those shots resulted of that."
Stauskas noted that Beilien has encouraged him to be more of distributor in the offensive, too.
"He has actually pushed me a lot as far as going in transition," Stauskas said, who is averaging 3.5 assists. "He wants me to be the guys sometimes to get the ball off a rebound and push it all the way. That's something I haven't been too confident in doing for some reason. That's something he's pushed me in."
And it seems like it's working.
No. 16 Michigan next plays at Purdue (15-12, 5-9) this Wednesday.