Kai Sotto started the game and wound up with seven points as the Adelaide 36ers outlasted Cairns Taipans, 91-87, in overtime for a good start in the NBL Blitz on Sunday at the MyState Bank Arena in Tasmania.
The 36ers squandered a 14-point advantage in the first half but did enough in the extra session to secure the victory in the league's official preseason tournament.
The NBL Blitz awards three points to teams for each won game, and one point for each quarter won. Teams share a point for each quarter drawn. Adelaide notched 4.5 points after Sunday's game.
Sotto started for the 36ers, winning the jump ball, and recorded his first points in the NBL off an and-1 play at the 7:01 mark of the second period. He was fouled while dunking by Cairns' Majok Deng, and Sotto converted the bonus free throw for a 29-20 Adelaide lead.
Their advantage reached 14 points, 34-20, midway through the period when Daniel Johnson drilled a three-pointer.
But the Taipans won the third quarter, 20-15, to set up a tight finish. A split at the line by Cameron Bairstow gave Adelaide a 79-77 lead with nine seconds to go, but Stephen Zimmerman converted a tip-in late -- with help from some interference by the 36ers -- to knot the count.
Adelaide still had a second to win the game in regulation, but Sotto's inbound pass was picked off.
In the overtime period, Daniel Johnson took over as he scored five straight points before a Emmanuel Malou three-pointer gave Adelaide an 87-79 lead with over three minutes to play. Back to back triples by Bul Kuol gave the Taipans some hope, but Adelaide's defense held firm in the closing minutes to hack out the win.
Sotto added five rebounds, an assist and a block, although he also committed four turnovers in just under 20 minutes of playing time.
Johnson led the way for Adelaide with 33 points and eight rebounds, while Tad Dufelmeier also reached double-digits with 14 points.
Zimmerman finished with 18 points for the Taipans.
Sotto and the 36ers return to action on Tuesday against the Perth Wildcats.
FROM THE ARCHIVES