Karpinskas, above right, and Sayers led the scoring for Sunderland as they beat Teesside

University of Sunderland Basketball 1sts marked the start of their Northern 3B campaign with a 70-62 victory against Teesside University at CitySpace on Wednesday.

Led by the scoring of Domantas Karpinskas and Charles Sayers, Sunderland managed to fight off a late comeback from the visitors, whose point guard had an exceptional fourth quarter performance.

A sloppy final 10 minutes from Sunderland helped the visitors cut the deficit to single digits.

However, Sayers’ shooting and Sunderland’s defence in the final stages saw Brian Calder’s men seal the win.

Sunderland had the advantage from the beginning of the game, scoring the first six points with Karpinskas at the heart of the attack.

Teesside’s mix of inaccurate shooting and constant fouling was always going to prove costly although consecutive baskets did get the visitors into the contest.

Sunderland led 18-11 after the first ten minutes of action with Karpinskias, Sayers and Michail Kavouras leading the way.

Five points inside the first two minutes of the second quarter gave Sunderland a 12 point advantage, forcing Teesside into a timeout.

But despite talking things over, the visitors immediately failed to defend from beyond the arc as Sayers drained a three pointer.

Sunderland’s dominance continued as they extended their run to 12-0 before Teesside offered a brief response with one free throw and a mid-range effort to make the score 30-14.

Towards the end of the half, Kavouras posted two great assists to Nikolous Sotivopoulos.

Sunderland kept their 16 point lead going into the break with the score at 38-22.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with Teesside on the back foot and Sunderland controlling proceedings.

Hilo Silva and Sayers both scored baskets to start the third quarter, however both sides soon had a barren run where every shot was off target.

With less than two minutes remaining of the third, Teesside cut the hosts’ advantage to 14 points but Sunderland replied with two baskets from Theodoros Axiorlis to go into the fourth quarter 58-39 up.

Teesside were inspired in crunch time by their point guard, who had a shooting battle against the in-form Sayers. Both players drained three pointers while also not being afraid to go to the rim.

Over four minutes remained when the visitors finally got the deficit down to single digits for the first time since the start of the second quarter.

Sunderland’s attack went flat and Teesside took advantage as they moved the ball around the court well.

But despite a few nervy moments, Sunderland held on to the victory with the help of big baskets from Kavouras and Sayers.