Kai Sotto proved his worth in his first preseason game with Adelaide, helping the 36ers take a 91-87 win over Cairns in the 2021 NBL Blitz Tournament, Sunday at MyState Bank Arena in Tasmania, Australia.
Sotto, who was plugged as a starter with Isaac Humphries out, played 19 minutes in the game. The 7-foot-3 Filipino big man had seven points, five rebounds, and a block.
And Sotto played big late in regulation.
With the game tied at 72-all with 43 seconds left, Emmanuel Malou found a cutting Sotto to break the deadlock.
The 36ers though would give up a 78-75 lead late.
A quick bucket by Tahjere McCall cut the lead to just one. A split on the stripe by Cameron Bairstow led to a Stephen Zimmerman layup with a second remaining to send the game into extra time.
Daniel Johnson took over in overtime, scoring five points in an 8-0 run to give his side an 87-79 lead.
Though Bul Kuol tried to pump some life into the Taipans, big buckets from Malou and Johnson sealed the win for Adelaide.
Adelaide got 4.5 points in the win, getting three points from the victory, half-a-point in the opening frame, and a point for taking the second quarter.
Johnson led Adelaide with 33 points on 12-of-25 shooting with eight rebounds, three assists, and a block while Tad Dufelmeier added 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, five rebounds, and three steals.
The Taipans, who got 2.5 points, were led by the 18 points apiece of Zimmerman and Majok Deng. Zimmerman also grabbed 11 rebounds. McCall added 16 points.
Up next for Sotto and the 36ers are Perth on Tuesday at 2:30PM.
two to sotto 74-72