Kai Sotto finally made his first field goal in the NBL but the Adelaide 36ers absorbed a 97-79 loss against defending champions Melbourne United at Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

/ 23 January 2022

The 7-foot-3 Sotto racked six points, eight rebounds and one steal in 16 minutes and 19 seconds of game time but the 36ers dropped to a 3-4 slate before their home fans.

Sotto scored his first NBL first goal on a dunk over Sudanese-Australian center Jo Lual-Acuil with 3:12 left in the second quarter that closed the gap to 51-37. 

The 19-year-old cager made several rebounds in the third canto when Adelaide tried to mount a comeback, the biggest was when it narrowed the gap to six.

It was then followed by a pair of dunks in the fourth quarter but the United trailed far behind the Adelaide squad to an 82-64 lead with 7:27 remaining in the clock and never looked back. 

Australia Boomers veteran Chris Goulding led Melbourne with 18 points, two rebounds, and two steals capped off by drilling six of his 12 triples to stay at the top of the standings at 7-2.

Lual-Acuil chipped in 18 points, eight boards, and three blocks, while Matt Dellavedova only nailed three points, seven assists, and two rebounds.

Cameron Bairstow top-scored Adelaide with 18 points and eight rebounds, followed by Sunday Dech who tallied 13 points and four boards.

Sotto and Adelaide will go back on the road on Monday and aim to bounce back against the Illawarra Hawks at WIN Entertainment Centre.