Kai Sotto goes clutch as Adelaide stuns Melbourne in OT thriller

Kai Sotto sealed the game for the 36ers. NBL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Kai Sotto showed that he can be a dependable player for Adelaide 36ers down the stretch as he made a clutch basket in overtime to complete a major upset against erstwhile NBL leader Melbourne United through an 88-83 win on Sunday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

After blowing their lead and losing to Tasmania on Friday night, Adelaide this time saved themselves from imploding again as Sotto drained the dagger jumper to ice the game against Melbourne.

Tied at 74-all at the end of regulation, Adelaide went on an 10-0 run after Jo Lual-Acuil scored the first basket of the overtime session for Melbourne to open an 84-76 lead with 1:47 to play.

Melbourne tried to sneak back into the game with four straight points, a split from Lual-Acuil and a three-pointer from Ili that cut the lead down to four, 84-80, with 1:21 to go.

Hannahs scored on a runner with 58.1 seconds left that sparked Adelaide's dagger hunt, but Chris Goulding made three free throws afterwards to trim the gap down to three, 86-83, with 51.6 seconds remaining.

Hannahs then found Sotto open off the pick-and-roll, and Sotto drained a one-dribble pull-up from the free throw line for the dagger basket with 33 seconds left.

Avenging his team's loss to Melbourne last week, Hannahs led Adelaide, which momentarily broke a tie with Tasmania for seventh place and tied Brisbane for sixth place at 4-6, with 19 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

Tasmania will play New Zealand later Sunday at its turf, the MyState Bank Arena, but it is credited as a New Zealand home game as the team also uses the arena as its temporary home due to COVID-19 protocols.

Sydney was initially tied with Brisbane for fifth place, but the former moved up to solo fifth at 5-6 following a 96-81 home win against Perth later Sunday.

Todd Withers added 17 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Sotto finished with 12 markers, four boards, and one dime off the bench for Adelaide.

Cam Bairstow (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Daniel Johnson (12 points and 14 rebounds) each added double-doubles.

Lual-Acuil finished with 23 points, 12 caroms, one assist, two blocks, and one steal, while Jack White had 18 markers, 11 rebounds, one assist, and two steals for Melbourne, which fell to second place at 8-3, putting cross-city rival South East Melbourne (6-2) at the top of the standings.

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