Sixers score NBL upset win over United

The Adelaide 36ers have brought Melbourne United back to earth with a thud, registering a 91-86 upset win on the road and making an NBL statement in the process.

A proud United organisation basked in the global spotlight during the build-up to the contest, after starting centre Isaac Humphries announced he is gay - a rarity in men's professional basketball.

But the overwhelmingly positive response from the sporting world was not enough to get them over the line at John Cain Arena on Thursday night.

Adelaide fired behind 21 points apiece from Robert Franks and Anthony Drmic, squaring their season record at 4-4 and replacing Melbourne (5-6) in the top six.

Antonius Cleveland (15 points) and former United championship-winning guard Mitch McCarron (12) were also influential in the Sixers' first game since releasing import Craig Randall II.

The visitors started strongly and held off several challenges from Melbourne, who cut a double-digit deficit to one point during the final period.

United guard Rayjon Tucker drained 18 of his game-high 23 points in a huge second-half effort but the Sixers ground out a result.

"I saw resilience," Adelaide coach CJ Bruton said.

"We've been in some tough spots in the early part of this year and this time when we were challenged we were able to find a way to execute and dig down deep and get the stops that we needed."

Melbourne have now dropped five of their eight home games but were at least able to breathe a sigh of relief when superstar Chris Goulding was cleared of concussion after a heavy clash with Franks.

Goulding was beaten to a loose ball by McCarron during the third quarter and seemingly did not see Franks coming the other way before the pair collided in what the Sixers forward termed "incidental contact".

It left Goulding lying on the floor before he was helped to the locker room for assessment.

Franks and McCarron were jeered by the home crowd but had the last laugh, with the American import sinking two late free-throws to ice the game.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman lamented poor runs that cost his side.

"We scored three points in the first five minutes of the game and three in the first five minutes after halftime," he said.

"Certainly after halftime I didn't like the way that we came out.

"It's something we've got to work on."

Humphries finished with eight points, six rebounds and four assists but could have done more damage, making just four of 10 shots from the field and missing his two free-throws.

The 24-year-old became the only openly gay player in a men's top-tier basketball league when he made his announcement on Wednesday via a video posted on social media.