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Carrington returns to U basketball team after mental health break

ANN ARBOR, MICH. – Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson trusted Braeden Carrington to defend the opponent's best perimeter player during the first 10 games of the season.

Carrington returned Thursday night at Michigan in his first game since taking a leave of absence to deal with his mental health last month.

The 6-4 sophomore guard is now coming off the bench. He didn't play much in the Gophers' 73-71 victory, seeing only nine minutes, but his only basket was a putback that put his team up 54-53 in the second half, and he added two offensive rebounds.

Carrington can still be an important piece for Johnson's team as it resumes Big Ten play. The Brooklyn Park native hadn't played since a Dec. 9 victory against Florida Gulf Coast.

"Hats go off to him being able to step away and be in the state he needs to be successful for himself most importantly," Johnson said in the pregame radio show. "He has a bounce in his step and a smile on his face. He's ready to compete and play good basketball."

The last time the Gophers played against one of the conference's best guards was in a Dec. 6 victory against Nebraska, when the Gophers' leading scorer Dawson Garcia was sidelined by an ankle injury. Carrington arguably played his best game with the Gophers, but it wasn't just that he recorded 13 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Carrington got into foul trouble in the first half Thursday, but it wasn't long ago that he held Cornhuskers guard Keisei Tominaga to four points and 0-for-5 shooting from the field. Tominaga showed how dangerous he is as a scorer recently with 28 points in Nebraska's 86-70 victory over Indiana on Wednesday.

"Braeden's got the experience and the know-how to defend multiple positions," Johnson said. "We'll look for him to bring a spark to the game when he checks in."

Sign up for our Gophers Update newsletterTschetter gets better

Stewartville's Will Tschetter started eight games for the Wolverines during his freshman year, but he has an even bigger role this season.

Entering Thursday's game against his home state Gophers, the 6-8 sophomore saw his minutes increase from an average of 10.8 to 17.2 minutes through 13 games. On Thursday, he played 13 minutes, scoring five points.

Tschetter scored double figures in his first two Big Ten games this season in early December, with 17 points and six rebounds vs. Indiana and 10 points in a victory at Iowa.

McNeese State defeated Michigan last week, but Tschetter had 11 points and five rebounds off the bench in 20 minutes.