Credit: Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Roman Kruchinin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

UNICS Kazan improved to 4-1 in the VTB regular season after downing Parma Perm on the road 73-66 (20-21, 17-12, 19-24, 17-9).

Mario Hezonja

Mario  Hezonja
Mario  Hezonja
MIN: 26.34
PTS: 12.14 (48.45%)
REB: 5.43
As: 1
ST: 0.71
BL: 0.29
TO: 2
GM: 7

The game was decided in the fourth quarter when UNICS - led by Mario Hezonja and John Brown on offense- locked down Parma for good, allowing the hosts to score only three points (from the free-throw line) in the last five minutes.

Hezonja scored 27 points overall, his best VTB tally so far, including the baskets that turned the game around in the closing minutes. Brown, on the other hand, produced 19 points and 7 rebounds and was a force of nature for UNICS.

The visitors were struggling defensively in the first quarter, allowing 21 points on 4/9 three-point shots to their opponents.

Mario Hezonja scored 9 points during UNICS's hard time, keeping Perasovic's men afloat. The Croatian forward was also responsible for the one-hand hammer that wrote the end credits to the first half (37-33 for UNICS).

However, the game took a different turn in the third quarter. The hosts went on a partial score of 8-2 that gave them a one-point lead (57-56).

Five points by Adas Juskevicius and Kazan's inability to get score from players other than Hezonja and Brown, rendered the contest extremely competitive.

Parma saw Jeremiah Hill make one three-pointer after another but the two leaders of UNICS were determined to give their team a much-needed win.

The former NBA player authored 5 straight points and a dime to Jekiri for an easy dunk. The 2021 EuroCup finalists were able to get some crucial defensive rebounds and were up by six (71-65), with almost two minutes remaining.

All that Parma could do was hit a free-throw to cut down the deficit to five points, but Hezonja provided the perfect finale for UNICS with a driving layup, thus sealing the victory for his side.

Parma Perm: Hill 14 (4/6 3PT), Mejeris 12, Voronov 8, Juskevicius 8.

UNICS Kazan: Hezonja 27 (12/21 FG, 3 REB, 3 AST), John Brown 19 (8/14 FG, 7 REB, 3 ST), Lorenzo Brown 8, Jekiri 6 (6 REB).

Full game highlights:

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Mario Hezonja

Mario  Hezonja
Team: UNIKS Kazan
Position: SF
Age: 26
Height: 202 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Birth place: Dubrovnik, Croatia