MANILA, Philippines – With four games left in the Australia NBL regular season, the also-ran Brisbane Bullets pulled off a 106-101 overtime home court stunner to frustrate the playoff-seeking Adelaide 36ers on Thursday, January 19.
Filipino star center Kai Sotto provided an early spark with 9 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in under 16 minutes as a starter, but was again reduced to a spectator in the clutch as Antonius Cleveland sank the overtime-forcing free throws to knot up Adelaide with Brisbane, 91-all.
Although Cleveland got the ball rolling in the extra period with an early go-ahead layup for the 93-91 lead, the Bullets zoomed past with a crucial 8-1 run, capped by an Andrew White floater with 1:51 left, 99-94.
Adelaide got as close as 99-98 off a Cleveland and-one conversion with 1:21 remaining, but Cleveland’s heroics were immediately erased after he committed back-to-back turnovers that translated to a game-sealing 5-0 spurt by the home team, 104-98, with 32.7 ticks left.
The Sixers momentarily gave the Bullets a scare after former NBA guard Tyler Johnson bricked two free throws that Anthony Drmic turned to a quick pull-up three opportunity, 101-104, with 13.5 seconds left.
However, Johnson made up for his earlier blunder with a pair of charities off the duty foul at the 12.9-second mark to set the final score and seal the upset win.
Johnson led the way with 27 points off the bench on 9-of-18 shooting with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals, while Jason Cadee paced the starters with 22 points in just under 26 minutes.
Former NBA big man Aron Baynes added 16 points and 9 boards for Brisbane, while Drmic topscored for the losing Adelaide side with 20 points on a 5-of-10 clip from deep.
The Bullets rose to a 7-17 record, still in ninth place in the 10-team league, while the Sixers slid down to 11-13 at the eighth spot as they continue chasing a top six finish for play-in qualification.
Brisbane 106 – Johnson 27, Cadee 22, Mitchell 17, Baynes 16, White 9, Sobey 9, Gak 2, Froling 2, Harrison 2, Stattman 0, Bach 0.
Adelaide 101 – Drmic 20, Cleveland 18, Franks 17, Johnson 13, Harris 10, Sotto 9, Clark 8, Dech 6, Acuoth 0, Galloway 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 47-38, 73-70, 91-91 (reg.), 106-101 (OT).