MANILA, Philippines – Kai Sotto saw his career game in the Australia NBL go down the drain as the Adelaide 36ers absorbed a 75-84 home loss to the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday, March 12.
Sotto notched a career-best and team-high 14 points to go with 7 rebounds, but the 36ers trailed big early and fell short of their comeback in a stunning defeat to the bottom-ranked Breakers.
The Filipino big man proved to be a bright spot early as he scattered 12 first-half points to help Adelaide overcome a 16-point deficit and go into the break trailing by just 6 points, 40-46.
New Zealand enjoyed a 39-23 lead in the second period before Sotto unloaded 10 points – including a historic triple – in a quarter-ending 17-6 run to get the 36ers back into game.
Standing at 7-foot-3, Sotto became the tallest player to make a three-pointer in NBL history.
But with Sotto sitting out the first three minutes in the third period, the Breakers padded their lead back to double digits, 55-44, off an Ousmane Dieng and-one and stretched it to as big as 16 points anew.
The 36ers made a last-ditch attempt to stage a comeback, narrowing the gap to only 75-81 with 1:30 minutes left, only to miss their last 5 field goals en route to their fifth straight loss.
Dusty Hannahs and Daniel Johnson muffed two shots each in a disappointing possession before Chasson Randle drilled in the dagger from beyond the arc for New Zealand with 25 ticks remaining.
Hugo Besson churned out a game-high 17 points in an off-the-bench role for the Breakers, who snapped a four-game skid and improved to 5-13.
Peyton Siva tallied 16 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals, while Dieng had 13 points and 4 rebounds in the win.
Adelaide, which dropped to 5-12, also banked on Johnson, who chalked up 12 points and 5 rebounds, and Sunday Dech, who delivered all-around numbers of 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Three-point shooting abandoned the 36ers as they shot a poor 13% (3-of-22) from long range in the loss. – Rappler.com