Kai Sotto hits dagger in 36ers' upset of Melbourne


Posted at Jan 30 2022 02:59 PM


The Adelaide 36ers snapped a three-game losing streak in sensational fashion, as they outlasted Melbourne United, 90-83, in overtime on Sunday afternoon at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Filipino center Kai Sotto capped a strong outing by drilling the dagger jump shot with 34 seconds left to ice the victory for the 36ers.

Melbourne had entered the game as the top team in the league, having won their last eight matches. It appeared that their winning streak would continue after they overhauled a fourth quarter deficit to take a 74-70 lead with 55 seconds to go.

But the home team refused to break. A split at the line by Cameron Bairstow made it a 3-point game with 24 seconds to go, 74-71, and the 36ers got the ball back after Jack White committed a turnover.

Jo Lual-Acuil looked to have sealed the Melbourne win when he blocked Sunday Dech's shot, but Adelaide retained possession and got the ball to Dusty Hannahs, who drilled the game-tying three-pointer with 15 seconds to go.

A potential game-winning floater by Matthew Dellavedova was off the mark, sending the game to overtime. 

There, Hannahs again came up big, scoring six points in a 10-0 blast that put the 36ers in control, 84-76,. Free throws by Chris Goulding got Melbourne within five points, 88-83, with 35 seconds left, but Sotto's clutch jumper slammed the door on the visitors' home of a comeback.

Sotto finished with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, along with four rebounds. Hannahs led the way for Adelaide with 19 points off the bench, while Todd Withers added 17 points. Cameron Bairstow (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Daniel Johnson (12 points and 14 boards) both had double-doubles.

Lual-Acuil had 23 points for the league-leading United. Dellavedova struggled all game long, making just one of 10 field goals for five points though he also had eight assists and two steals.

The 36ers improved to 4-6 in the 2021-22 season of Australia's National Basketball League, while Melbourne dropped to 8-3.

Adelaide returns to action on Thursday, February 3 against the Brisbane Bullets.