Brown On UCF: I Don't Know How The Ball Came Off The Rim

Duke survived a scare against UCF, as Aubrey Dawkins' tip-in attempt rolled off the rim

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
March 25, 2019 - 12:23 pm
Aubrey Dawkins UCF Duke NCAA Tournament

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Duke survived UCF, 77-76, on Sunday in what is, so far, the game of the tournament. Aubrey Dawkins scored 32 points for the Knights, but his tip-in attempt – which would have won the game – rolled off the rim as time expired.

“I can’t imagine how many times Aubrey Dawkins is going to go over that replay in his mind and maybe even physically watching it,” The Athletic college basketball writer C.L. Brown said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I don’t see how the ball came off the rim. B.J. Taylor’s shot was kind of like that, too.”

Taylor had a good look at the rim, but his would-be game-winner didn’t fall, either. That’s when Dawkins took flight.

“When Aubrey went up – I know it’s cliche – but it literally was as if time was standing still while you were watching him make that play, or attempting to make that play,” Brown said. “But I think Aubrey kind of took it upon himself. He also grew up in Durham, and certainly his dad used to work him out in Cameron Indoor Stadium. So he knew how much this game meant for his dad and everything, and he can at least take solace in the fact that he couldn’t have done anymore. He played to his best ability.”

Indeed, Dawkins shot 12-of-18 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from three.

Duke’s star freshmen – Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones – played well, combining for 72 of Duke’s 75 points. Williamson finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds.

Still, Brown’s enduring memory from this game will be UCF’s disappointment.

“They were right on the verge,” he said, “and to see Johnny Dawkins after the game, he looked like he played in the game. He just had a total look of exhaustion and he was spent. It was right there for them.”

Duke (31-5), meanwhile, will face No. 4 Virginia Tech (26-8) in the Sweet 16 on Friday at 9:39 p.m. ET. Despite a scare against UCF, Duke remains the favorite to win it all, especially with Williamson leading the way.

“He’s an extremely smart player, and just his humility – that has helped this team,” Brown said. “Even last year – the last two years – with the amount of star power Duke has had on their roster, it hadn’t always meshed the way that it’s come together this year. These guys generally root for each other and are unselfish. They’re kind of maturing and learning as they go through this tournament.”