In one of the first ACC/Big Ten Challenge games of 2012, the Michigan Wolverines were able to get out to an early lead on the NC State Wolfpack, and they wouldn't look back, beating NC State by a score of 79-72.
While NC State was able to use its big men Richard Howell and T.J. Warren to keep within striking distance, the Wolverines put on a masterful performance offensively, ensuring that the Wolfpack would not be able to mount any kind of comeback.
Led in the first half by freshman guard Nik Stauskas, Michigan was racing out of the gates.
Stauskas started the game shooting 4-for-4 from the field, including three from long range and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line for 13 points—all of this after coming off the bench.
The rest of the team was firing on all cylinders as well.
Trey Burke set a career-high nine first-half assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. was great offensively and freshman Mitch McGary played a great game off the bench.
For NC State, it seemed like the Wolfpack just couldn't manage to put together any extended stretch where multiple players were clicking at the same time.
Early on, NC State's big men Howell and Warren were carrying the load, starting the game a combined 7-for-8 from the field and scoring 16 first-half points.
C.J. Leslie—one of the preseason favorites for ACC Player of the Year—was nowhere to be found, scoring just four points on 2-for-6 shooting, adding three rebounds but also picking up two early personal fouls and turning the ball over three times in the first half.
Leslie managed to turn it on in the second half, scoring 12 points and adding 7 rebounds, but with Howell on the bench with four personal fouls just five minutes into the second half, it was once again a single-pronged attack.
Michigan Players of the Game
Nik Stauskas and Trey Burke share player of the game honors on the night for the Michigan Wolverines.
After going scoreless in the first half, while racking up nine assists, Trey Burke went off in the second half for 18 points while adding another two assists to give him a total of 11 on the night.
Furthermore, Burke went the whole game without turning the ball over and had two steals and a block to go with his 18 points and 11 assists.
Taking Michigan's opponent into account, it was probably Burke's best outing of the young season.
As for Stauskas, the Canadian-born freshman had the game of his life.
He registered 20 points on 60 percent shooting and shot 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
He was the catalyst for the Wolverines early on and was the driving force behind the Wolverines' early run.
NC State Player of the Game
Despite his anemic start to the game, C.J. Leslie was able to lead a valiant comeback effort that ended up pulling the Wolfpack to within five points late in the game.
Leslie was able to score 12 second-half points and add seven second-half rebounds to finish up with a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), showing just how dominant he can be.
One has to wonder how this game would've turned out if Leslie was able to play a complete game and avoid turning the ball over six times.
Stat of the Game
Tonight's stat of the game has to be Michigan's turnover total.
The Wolverines turned the ball over a total of six times all game.
With the ball securely in Trey Burke's hands, Michigan was able to take great care of the ball and maximize its opportunities on the offensive end.
Keep in mind that this was done against a ranked NC State team that is loaded with talent.
Hats off to the Wolverines for that.