Super Mario lifts UNICS to victory over Zalgiris

2021-12-17T18:41:52+00:00 2021-12-17T19:12:26+00:00.

Antigoni Zachari

17/Dec/21 18:41

Mario Hezonja kept UNICS intact against Zalgiris

By Eurohoops team /

The unstoppable UNICS Kazan held on to beat visiting Zalgiris Kaunas 66-53 in Round 16 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, and extended its streak to three wins to move up to a 10-6 record.

With the two teams tied neck to neck all the way to the third quarter, “Super Mario” Hezonja stepped up for UNICS to hand it a 42-35 lead after 27 minutes, though Zalgiris chipped away the deficit to even the score at 42 points after 30 minutes.

The home team quickly restored their lead by a 10-0 run early in the fourth and that was practically game over for Zalgiris, despite a last-ditch effort for a comeback in the final three minutes.

“We had some problems on offense but it is not easy to play two games a week, have a good three-point percentage and play easy”, said UNICS coach Velimir Perasovic. “Sometimes you need a win like the one today. In the beginning of the last quarter, we played two very good defenses and scored 6 of 7 points very fast, and when we had this advantage, it was easier”.

Hezonja finished the game with a game-high of 20 points on 4-of-6 from the three-point line to go along with 6 rebounds.

“We tried but lost control again on offense. We allowed Hezonja to make three-pointers in the same way. This was maybe the key” highlighted Jure Zdovc.

Tonye Jekiri added up to the efforts with 11 points and 9 rebounds, Isaiah Canaan had 11, while Lorenzo Brown followed with 9 points and 10 assists.

Marek Blazevic and Janis Strelnieks both posted 9 points for Zalgiris and Tyler Cavanaugh picked up 8 points and 4 rebounds. Zalgiris now falls further down the standings with a 3-13 record and three consecutive defeats. Earlier this week, the Lithuanian side collapsed in an overtime battle against Monaco.

Photo: EuroLeague