Big squad, big ambitions: Salford Uni basketball eye BUCS Premier – Bagheri

Toloe Bagheri believes victory for Salford University men’s basketball team in the BUCS Big Wednesday Trophy final can spur the team on to promotion this season.

The second year business and financial management student and team captain put in a man-of-the-match display as his side secured a comfortable 83-59 win against UWE at Loughborough University.

And Bagheri, who has represented his native Iran at both the Asian and World Championships, stressed lifting the BUCS Trophy has given the team an extra boost ahead as they bid to earn promotion to BUCS Premier Division next month.

“We were confident coming in because we had won the league in the north but we didn’t know much about the other team,” he said.

“We’ve got two promotion games in April, we’re trying to get to the BUCS Premier. We’re playing Edinburgh first and if we win we play either Sheffield Hallam or Derby.

“Hopefully next year we’ll be competing in the BUCS Premier.”

Big Wednesday is the finale of the BUCS sporting calendar, which sees 100,000 students each year take part in BUCS Wednesday competitions in some 3,500 teams, across 600 leagues – making it the biggest student sporting programme in Europe.

The result was rarely in doubt as Salford, who won nine of their ten BUCS league games this season, lead their opponents at the end of each quarter.  

And 31-year-old Bagheri pinpointed Salford’s strong defence as key to victory as they were able to maintain a minimum ten-point advantage throughout proceedings.

“The other team came to win, they started the game really aggressively, but we played a great defensive game. They had a lot of great players but we managed to stop them,” he added.

“We just came with the aim of playing with a good defence, playing as a team and focusing on our own game.

“We knew we had to keep focused throughout the game and we managed to keep the points margin where we wanted it.

“We hit them on the counter attack a lot, that’s what we do as a team, we have quite a big squad so physically we’re able to do that.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for Higher Education sport in the UK, representing 170 institutions and facilitating 52 sport programmes. BUCS has been shortlisted for Governing Body of the Year at the BT Sports Industry Awards 2015 and is supported by Deloitte

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