Stauskas Heeds Advice of U-M Great Glen Rice

Michigan sophomore Nik Stauskas had his offensive arsenal on display Saturday against Minnesota. The night before, a talk with former Michigan great Glen Rice may have added a little extra motivation.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Needing a big game from sophomore Nik Stauskas, No. 16 Michigan got what they needed in a 66-56 win over Minnesota Saturday night.

Clinching a share of the Big Ten regular season championship led by 21 points including knocking down 5-of-8 three-pointers, Stauskas really found his rhythm in the second half.

“I don’t know what it was,” Stauskas said. “I think it was yesterday I was shooting in practice and my shot felt great. I think I shot 50 threes and I made 48 so it was just one of those feelings that carried over today.

“In warm-ups I could feel it, I was shooting the same way and I got some open looks today. My teammates found me when I was open and I credit them for that one.”

Being honored and in attendance for Saturday’s win was Michigan’s 1989 national championship team led by fellow shooting sensation Glen Rice, who played 15 years in the NBA.

Before the game against the Gophers, Rice added a little extra motivation for the Wolverines’ Stauskas, not necessarily ready to implement all of his advice into a game setting.

“I was talking to him last night he was telling me he could make 15 threes in a row with his eyes closed,” Stauskas said. “So I was like man I got to show him something at least”

“They came and talked to us (yesterday) after we finished watching our film session. They kind of inspired us a little bit and then to have them here watching the game and in the locker room after; it’s just an honor to have them here.”

Rice, who still holds the NCAA tournament record after scoring 184-points in Michigan’s run to the title in 1989, says he sees one glaring similarity between his team and the 2013-14 version of the Wolverines.

“Definitely the shooting,” Rice said. “They’re not afraid to jack up threes that’s for sure. The head coach John Beilein I think has these guys going in the right direction.”

Asked whether or not he’d fit into Beilein’s system at Michigan, Rice laughed noting, “Of course. The way I shoot?”

For Stauskas, a candidate for Big Ten Player of the Year, reaching the height of Rice’s accomplishments’ as a shooter is still a ways off but that doesn’t stop the Ontario, Canada native from working to get close.

“I watch him everyday,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “He has these routines where he shoots and Glen Rice told him yesterday you need to shoot an hour before practice, an hour after practice and I said I hope he didn’t do that right away.

“But he gets his shots up everyday and he’s got his little formula and he does it but, no, his stroke’s been pretty clean.

Next for Stauskas, still dealing with what Beilein terms being a “marked man,” is to keep creating, fighting through, and at times flat out ignoring the attention and double teams from opponents.

"What I do want him to do, believe it or not, is shoot more, and he did that today,” Beilein said.