NBL: Sotto, Adelaide falter in 2nd half, lose to Melbourne


Posted at Mar 20 2022 02:08 PM


Kai Sotto and the Adelaide 36ers were thoroughly outplayed in the second half in a 101-74 defeat to the league-leading Melbourne United, Sunday at the John Cain Arena in Melbourne.

Five players scored in double-digits for the host team, which pulled away in the second half after settling for a slim 46-41 advantage at the break. Brad Newley led Melbourne with 15 points and four rebounds.

Sotto had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, though a bulk of his production came when the game was already well in hand for Melbourne. He also had four rebounds and an assist in 19 minutes of action.

It was a disappointing result for the 36ers who failed to build on an impressive 83-57 victory over the Cairns Taipans last Friday in the National Basketball League-Australia.

The 36ers trailed by just five points at the halftime break and got the deficit down to three points, 46-43, when Tad Dufelmeier scored the first basket of the third quarter.

But Melbourne soon pulled away, with Newley and Chris Goulding finding their range from beyond the arc to push the hosts ahead. A Goulding triple gave Melbourne a 13-point edge, 69-56, at the end of the period.

Former NBA player Matthew Dellavedova then knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to open the fourth quarter, putting Melbourne in complete control, 75-56. The lead would reach 30 points, 99-69, with just over a minute to go off a Mason Peatling layup.

Melbourne limited Adelaide to just 33 points in the second half.

Daniel Johnson led Adelaide with a game-high 18 points.

Melbourne United, the defending champions of the NBL, improved to 15-5 in the 2021-22 season. Meanwhile, Adelaide dropped to 6-13.

Sotto and the 36ers are back in action next Sunday, when they host the South East Melbourne Phoenix (11-9) at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.