The University of Sunderland Basketball 1sts have picked up three wins in the last three weeks and coach Brian Calder is understandably proud of his players’ efforts.

Two league wins and a victory in the cup have helped Sunderland to the top of their division while keeping interest in another competition on the side.

With squad numbers down in the past few matches, it’s even more of an achievement that the Wearsiders have kept up their unbeaten start to the year and Calder has spoke highly of his chargers.

“I’m ecstatic really,” said the coach.

“We know our backs are up against it a little bit. We would like a few more players that are of the standard that’s needed in this league.

“But I have to say we’ve got tremendous output from the lads, both in the games at Durham and I have to admit I was surprised we had such a good result against Bradford considering their programme and personnel.”

In the league match against Durham, Sunderland stormed to a 20 point (77-57) victory to stamp their authority on the Northern 2B division.

As far as Calder’s comments go, it seems like the university put in a near-perfect performance.

“We frustrated them with our defence but played really smart, shot really well offensively and systematically during the game made very few mistakes,” he added.

“We forced them into errors and they lost their cool a little bit.

“As the game got stronger, they fragmented even more so that’s how we built the lead.”

The following week saw Sunderland beat Bradford 84-80, who were also unbeaten going into the game.

In a gruelling encounter, which saw Sunderland have the lead in different stages of the match, their West Yorkshire opposition forced overtime and almost won the match with the final possession of regulation.

Sunderland managed to come out of the game with an important victory as they kept their 100% record intact.

“I think other teams would have expected Bradford to come away with the win,” Calder admitted.

“I spoke to their coach who was quite confident, and we were quite depleted in numbers.

“If we’ve got all our players available, we’d have probably went nine or ten players deep but unfortunately we were looking at five and eight deep.

“We started really well – making good decisions, players shooting very well but credit to them (Bradford), they’re a good outfit and well coached, they came back to us again and they could have won it on the last offence they had.

“We went into overtime, and I was confident we were in a better frame of the game than they were and that proved to be true.”

And on Wednesday, Sunderland progressed in the cup with a 88-73 triumph at Edge Hill University.

Calder was unable to attend the match and the Wearsiders only had five players at their disposal, while former player Justas Seselgis took charge.

“Once again, we had our backs against the wall and I couldn’t go to the game due to work commitments so not only have these lads got the victory, but they’ve also managed to work with what we’ve just put in place,” he said.

“Their resilience and tenacity is just shining through at the moment.”