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With Dawson Garcia set to return, streaking Minnesota meets Maine

with-dawson-garcia-set-to-return,-streaking-minnesota-meets-maine

Minnesota will go for its fifth win in a row when it hosts Maine in a nonconference matchup Friday night in Minneapolis.

The Golden Gophers (9-3) are coming off an extended break. They pulled away for an 80-63 win at home Dec. 21 over Ball State in their most recent game.

Mike Mitchell Jr. scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field in the victory. Pharrel Payne contributed 13 points, and Joshua Ola-Joseph and Elijah Hawkins finished with 12 apiece.

Now, Minnesota will welcome back one of its top players and is approaching the return of another key player as it prepares for Maine (8-6).

Dawson Garcia, who leads Minnesota with averages of 18.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season, is ready to return after missing three games because of an ankle injury.

“He looks really good,” Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said. “He’ll be ready to roll, for sure.”

Teammate Braeden Carrington also has rejoined the team but isn’t expected to play Friday. Carrington started the first 10 games before taking an approved leave of absence to focus on his mental health.

Johnson said he loved what he has seen from Carrington since he returned to practice.

“(Tuesday) was the first day in three weeks where I could tell he was in a good spot in terms of just (being) happy and in a good place, smile on his face,” Johnson said.

Maine is looking to bounce back from back-to-back road losses to UCF and Florida International. The Black Bears had won four games in a row before their two-game skid.

Kellen Tynes leads the team with an average of 13.5 points per game and is standing out defensively with a team-high 1.9 steals per contest. Peter Filipovity ranks second in scoring at 13.4 ppg and tops the team with an average of 6.9 rebounds.

“Our mindset as a team is just to keep getting better,” Maine coach Chris Markwood said. “(Our players) are comfortable and they’re confident, and most importantly they’re really embracing everything that we’re trying to do here.”

–Field Level Media

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