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GAME REPORT

Digbeu Leads Bullets to Win Over Sotto's Sixers

With young guns Tom Digbeu and Kai Sotto leading the way for their teams, it was an entertaining Monday night in the NBL with the Brisbane Bullets prevailing 93-85 against the Adelaide 36ers.

The two teams were meeting for the second time inside eight days after playing out a high-scoring and entertaining affair in Brisbane last Sunday.

The Bullets won that by a point and the two out of playoff contention teams were looking to find some late season momentum at Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Monday night.

It was the last home game of the season for the Sixers but they couldn’t quite reward their loyal home fans with the win largely thanks to the performance of Next Star Tom Digbeu for the Bullets.

Brisbane was without import forward Robert Franks and the Bullets needed someone to step up with Nathan Sobey still out too, and it was Digbeu.

He continued his momentum since grabbing his increased opportunity in recent games and delivered a career-high 15 points, four assists and two rebounds including hitting 2/4 from beyond the arc.

Kai Sotto also impressed for the 36ers playing his best game of the season with 21 points and three rebounds on 7/8 shooting and 6/8 at the foul line from just 17:34 of playing time.

However, ultimately the difference was Digbeu got a bit more help including Jason Cadee coming up huge late. He got a critical stop on Mojave King and also drained a three in the dying seconds to stave off Adelaide's late charge.

He finished with 15 points and four assists including 3/7 from downtown with Lamar Patterson producing 15 points, Deng Deng 14 points and eight rebounds, and Jack Salt eight points and seven boards.

Bullets coach James Duncan was delighted with the way his team hit back from Saturday's 31-point home loss to Illawarra.

"I think the guys just showed some character and for sure we're very, very disappointed having that as our last home game when we didn’t show up to play," Duncan said.

"That was the message going forward after that game and we wanted to show our fans, and our members that we care and are still believing, and playing and working hard. The guys focused in on the right things tonight and the result is nice."

Captain Mitch McCarron also had 17 points and six assists for the 36ers with Daniel Johnson contributing 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, Mojave King eight points and Sunday Dech eight points, six rebounds and four assists.

Adelaide coach CJ Bruton just felt Brisbane did more things right in the end which led to the final result.

"I thought we started the game out with a roar and moved the ball, and got some good looks. As the game unfolded, there were just a couple of breakdowns here and there, and the lead started to get away," Bruton said.

"We had one last push to try and get it back, and we tried some different things to combat what they did. Digbeu came in and made a couple of threes, and turned the corner a couple of times and got to the rim which he's explosive and athletic to do. And Jason did what he's done in the three games that we've played them and closed it out."

Anthony Drmic opened up with a triple for Brisbane against his old team but Adelaide soon got on top with buckets to Hyrum Harris and Mitch McCarron, a triple from Daniel Johnson and then alley-oop finish from Kai Sotto.

Johnson and McCarron then drained three balls to put the Sixers up 17-7, but Brisbane steadied well firstly through Jason Cadee with seven points and with Tom Digbeu knocking one down from deep to limit Adelaide's lead at quarter-time to a point.

The Bullets then worked their way on top to start the second term with Digbeu and Deng Deng combining for a 6-1 run. 

Four points to Lamar Patterson then kept the Bullets on top but again the 36ers responded. Sotto was aggressive and made three successive trips to the foul line and then a triple from McCarron put the home team narrowly in front, but scores were all square at 41-41 half-time.

Brisbane opened up the second half with three balls to Drmic, Patterson and Tanner Krebs, and then took over the game. By the time Cadee also connected from beyond the arc, they were up 10 and were still leading by that margin at three quarter-time.

Young guns Digbeu and Sotto traded three balls to open the fourth quarter but the Bullets were enjoying their momentum and a couple of nice buckets to Jack Salt opposed to Sotto, and then five points to Deng Deng had the margin out to 13.

The Sixers were able to respond with the next seven points to make it a six-point ball game and a Todd Withers three helped make it four, and still the 36ers kept coming. Eventually a triple from King and free-throws from Sotto made it a two-point game with 27 seconds on the clock.

Back in the city he used to call home, it was Cadee that called game with a triple to seal Brisbane's win.

The Sixers have now finished their home games for the season and head on the road to finish starting on Thursday night in Perth. They then take on the Sydney Kings on Sunday and the New Zealand Breakers in Hobart the following Sunday.

The Bullets will also be finishing the rest of their season on the road heading to Melbourne to play United on Saturday, and then the Taipans in Cairns in Round 21.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 19

ADELAIDE 36ERS 85 (Sotto 21, McCarron 17, Johnson 12)

BRISBANE BULLETS 93 (Digbeu 15, Patterson 15, Cadee 15) 

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