University of Sunderland basketball coach Brian Calder was in an upbeat mood after his side started their league campaign with victory over Teesside at CitySpace.

Despite a complacent final quarter, which saw Teesside move to within single digits of the hosts, Sunderland had enough in the locker to gain the opening night win.

Calder has had to integrate some freshers into his team after the loss of some key players through graduation.

“A couple of the first years have done really well, I have no complaints with them while some of my more experienced players made a couple of silly mistakes which I wouldn’t expect,” Calder said.

“But all in all, Teesside have got a good program there so to get a win against them is excellent.”

Calder also touched upon the Teesside rally which set up a tense finale.

“This is the nature of the game,” he added.

“The tenacity of Teesside’s program means they won’t give up and we absorbed the pressure.

“We put a guy in there who hadn’t had any game time and we wanted to put him in when it matters.

“They got a little bit of confidence and when a team changed that momentum it’s hard to get that back but that three to the end by Dom (Karpinskas) settled us down.”

When asked about the target for the university this season, Calder didn’t make a prediction due to not knowing much about the other squads in the league.

“We have got to keep our place in this league but it’s difficult to make a judgement on other teams,” the coach said.

“Teesside are similar to us, they’ve had a big graduation so their program is depleted a little bit.

“We face teams who also have good backgrounds, like Bradford.

“It’s usually a judgement I can make after we’ve played each team once then I can see where we stand.”