Mario Hezonja nears triple-win in VTB All-Star Game

2022-02-20T17:44:35+00:00 2022-02-20T17:44:35+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

20/Feb/22 17:44

He led the World Stars past the Russian Stars and won the Dunk Contest, but Mario Hezonja was held to second place in the Three-Point Contest

By Johnny Askounis/

The World Stars secured the win, 129-121, in the VTB United League All-Star Game at Moscow’s VTB Arena.

Croatian superstar representing UNICS Kazan, Mario Hezonja was all over the place from the All-Star Game to the Dunk and Three-Point Contests but fell narrowly shy of a triple. He was named All-Star Game MVP after scoring 29 points powered by 13/21 field goals. Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Jordan Mickey posted a 28-point, 11-rebound double-double. Lokomotiv Kuban’s Errick McCollum followed with 17 points.

For the Russian Stars, Zenit guard Dmitry Kulagin registered a team-high 17 points and dished out ten assists. Nizhny Novgorod’s Anton Astapkovich ended up with 16 points. Experienced UNICS forward Andrey Vorontsevich went for 15 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists, while CSKA Moscow’s Alexey Shved made 15 more points.

Midway through the All-Star Game, Hezonja won the VTB Investments Slam-Dunk Contest held during the halftime break. A 50-point dunk separated him from Zenit’sAlex Poythress in the final, while Avtodor Saratov’s Jaron Johnson and Kalev/Cramo’s Kamari Murphy exited in the semifinals.

Following the first quarter, Zenit’s Billy Baron managed to beat Hezonja, 22-18, in the Olimpbet 3-Point Contest final to spoil the triple victory. Vorontsevich and Avtodor’s Pavel Sergeev fell short in the preliminary round.

Before the All-Star Game, Branko Mirkovic and Konstantinos Kaimakoglou were inducted into the VTB United League Hall of Fame honoring their runs with Tsmoki-Minsk and Kalev, and UNICS, respectively. Vasily Karasev as a coach, Alexander Khairetdinov as a functionary, and Ivan Urgant as a commentator, completed the 2022 class.

Photo Credit: VTB League Twitter