NBL: Adelaide's comeback falls short against Melbourne


Posted at Jan 21 2023 08:19 PM

Kai Sotto had 15 points but the Adelaide 36ers couldn't complete a comeback against Melbourne United, falling to a 94-87 loss on Saturday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

The Filipino center again got the starting nod and made six of his nine field goals for 15 points, while also grabbing seven rebounds. He also had one block in under 18 minutes of game time.

The 36ers trailed by 11 points in the final quarter, 87-76, before a jumper by Sotto sparked an 11-2 run that made it a one-possession game, 89-87, with under two minutes to go.

An Antonius Cleveland capped the Adelaide flurry, bringing them within two points. But they gave up a layup to Rayjon Tucker that pushed Melbourne's lead to four points, 91-87. 

Missed three-pointers by Sunday Dech and Cleveland in the ensuing Adelaide possessions allowed the visitors to stay in control. A split at the line by Tucker with 38 seconds left made it a 92-87 game, essentially icing the contest for Melbourne. 

Robert Franks led Adelaide with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting along with 10 rebounds and six assists, though he also committed seven of their 15 turnovers in the game. 

Dech had 14 points off the bench, and Anthony Drmic had 13 points. 

The loss dropped Adelaide to 11-14, keeping them out of the play-in picture for the 2022-23 season of the NBL. They are behind Melbourne (14-12) and South East Melbourne Phoenix (13-12) in the league standings. 

Chris Goulding had 28 ponints, while Tucker finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds for Melbourne United. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 20 points off the bench.

Adelaide returns to action on January 30 against the Cairns Taipans (16-8).