UM's Dawkins shakes off clunker of a dunk

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Aubrey Dawkins had a good night.

He just wishes he could have that one play back.

"Sometimes you gotta go for it, I guess," Dawkins said, able to smile after Michigan survived Rutgers, 68-57, on Wednesday night at Crisler Center.

With 8 minutes, 47 seconds left in the game, Dawkins was given a sharp pass at the free-throw line, and he had an open lane to the basket.

So, he went flying through the air, for what seemed to be an ESPN highlight coming up.

But it was anything but a highlight.

Dawkins said he jumped too soon and thought the Rutgers player was going to jump, but he didn't — and so, out of sorts, Dawkins whiffed on the dunk.

It led to Rutgers ball, and Rutgers points, in a game that was far from decided.

Michigan coach John Beilein wasn't too upset about it, noting when players have that kind of athleticism, it's natural to try and show it off. He just wishes players would use two hands.

"You'll still make the highlight reel," Beilein said.

Dawkins wasn't fazed, even if he was embarrassed.

The next play down, he drained a 3-pointer — one of three consecutive three-point possessions for Michigan, as it started to finally put this game away.

"That's huge," Zak Irvin said of Dawkins' bounce-back 3-pointer. "He has that short-term memory.

"I really thought he was gonna throw it down. Everyone wanted to see it. I'm just happy for him. It's a game that he needed."

Dawkins also gave Michigan a spark in the first half, with two quick 3-pointers off the bench when the Wolverines were trailing.

He finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting as he continues to get more comfortable in his role off the bench, after having a bigger role down the stretch last season when Michigan was running out of healthy bodies."

One of the misses was a 3-pointer; and the other miss, well, he'd like to move on from that, even though he knows a Beilein lecture likely is in his future.

"First of all, I jumped too far. I thought the guy in the paint was gonna jump, but he didn't jump," Dawkins said. "I've just gotta throw it and hope it goes through, Blake Griffin-esque kind of stuff, but it didn't go through.

"You can't think about it too long."