Team Sunderland’s dominating size and threat of second chance points through offensive rebounds proved vital in the TeesWear Varsity final event.
Teesside’s small, drive-dependent lineup was rendered useless against the strong Sunderland defence
Sunderland took an early lead and did not trail throughout the first quarter. Despite going on small early runs, turnovers by both teams struggle to gain early momentum.
Capitalising on turnovers and dominating the offensive boards, the hosts help all momentum during the first quarter.
Post-match, Team Sunderland’s coach, Calder, said: “You got to go in there with heart and desire to get rebounds.”
Teesside’s Zhou proved a threat for the final event of Varsity, turning defensive stops into fast break points as well as draining a few inspiring three pointers to boost the visitor’s confidence.
Sunderland continued the second quarter strong going on a 10-0 run increasing their lead to 28-15
A turnover ridden second quarter combined with a small lineup for the hosts saw the visitors crawl back to five point deficit but wasn’t enough as the orange and blue went into the half up eight.
Sunderland have been suffering from some injuries, disrupting the flow and contributing to turnovers, but will be putting in the preperation to minimise them during their Clash of the Minsters match against York St. John.
Sunderland started the second half the same way the started the second quarter, continuing an impressive run. They increased their advantage on the back of a 14-3, followed by a 16-2 run contributing to a 25 point lead.
Sunderland’s Xie kept the energy high and pushed for a high tempo that tired out Teesside and tallied up points of turnovers and fast break points.
Sunderland Centre Mdayitavi pulled up and called bank from the three point line followed by two consecutive blocks by Tees’ forward Yesufu.
With Tees’ guard number three fouling out, the visitor’s had to depend on Tees’ Zhou to inspire a comeback, despite being down by as many as 32.
Calder said: “I’m really confident going into next week. It’s nice to see the crowd singing.”
Currently scheduled for 8pm, the Men’s firsts will close out next week’s anticipated Varsity in City Space, hopefully crowning Team Sunderland champions for the second week in a row.