Dom Karpinskas basketball v Northumbria

Sunderland’s basketball first team travel to Liverpool John Moores University to take on their first team in the last 16 of the BUCS Northern Conference Cup on Wednesday.

Sunderland were building some momentum this season with back to back wins in the last month, but their win streak ended at two, as they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season away to Bradford 1sts last week. After their first two defeats of the season came by a margin of four points, Sunderland lost out to Bradford 62-54 a week ago in a slightly more one sided contest against them.

Cup run so far

This game is officially Sunderland’s third in the cup this season, but it’s only the second they’ll actually play after they were given a bye in the first round because of their relatively high status in the BUCS league structure. Therefore Brian Calder’s team were automatically put through to the second round, where they were able to beat fellow Northern 3B side York 1sts 64-42 at City Space.

Cup pedigree

The omens don’t look great for Sunderland coming into this round of the cup, as it’s the stage they’ve been knocked out of the most in the five years since this tournament was introduced by BUCS. The furtherest they’ve got in this competition was back in the 2013/14 season when they reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out in a tight game against Sheffield 1sts.

A look at the opposition

It will be a tough ask for Sunderland to make it through to the last eight of the cup, as they go up against Liverpool John Moores first team, who play a division higher than them in the Northern 2A. John Moores have had a slow start this season however, losing their first three games in the league.

They come into this game though with back-to-back wins under their belt after thrashing Leeds 3rds in the previous round of this competition and claiming their first league win last week after a tight victory over Edge Hill 1sts. Like Sunderland though, the best John Moores has done in this competition is make one quarter-final, there’s being in the 2014/15 season.

A new challenge 

This promises to be an intriguing clash, as Sunderland go up against a team they’ve not played since BUCS records began in a one-off game to make it into the latter stages of a prestigious competition, which has thrown up some suprise winners in the past. Sunderland 1sts take on Liverpool John Moores 1sts at the IM Marsh sports hall, Wednesday November 23 at 5.00pm.