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Davidson’s Brian Sullivan coming on strong

The deeper into the college basketball season it gets, the more relaxed Davidson guard Brian Sullivan becomes and the better he plays.

Sullivan is on a five-game shooting streak that has helped move the Wildcats (16-6, 7-4) to within one game of first place in the Atlantic 10. Davidson plays at La Salle (14-10, 6-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

“The way I’m playing now is a byproduct of my mental approach,” said Sullivan, who is averaging 18.6 points over the past five games. He’s made 50 percent of his shots over that stretch, including 40.5 from 3-point range.

Sullivan, a junior who transferred to Davidson from Miami (Ohio) in 2012, has gotten off to relatively slow starts in his two seasons with the Wildcats. He didn’t score in double figures until this season’s fifth game (14 against Charlotte). He missed all six of his 3-pointers in the season opener against Catholic and was just six-of-34 from the field before the 49ers game.

But as the Wildcats have moved into the meat of the Atlantic 10 schedule, Sullivan has shined. The reason, he said, has come from within and from his faith.

“I’ve really stopped trying to please others,” said Sullivan. “Basketball is not who I am, it’s what I do.”

Sullivan also said he finds strength and meaning in a quote by author C.S. Lewis: “When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”

“For me, it’s been my faith,” said Sullivan. “I know that sounds cheesy or corny. But I’m really enjoing playing with a kind of freedom now.”

Sullivan passed the 1,000-point mark in his career in a 92-71 victory Wednesday against George Mason, against whom he scored all 19 of his points in the first half.

“Yes, it’s been the same with Brian; he’s started slowly this season and last season,” said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop. “And we’re also getting such great leadership from him and (senior guard) Tyler Kalinoski.”

Sullivan, who leads the A-10 in assist-turnover ratio (2.93), is one of several players who have helped make up for the absence of leading scorer Jack Gibbs, a guard who has missed six games with a knee injury. McKillop said he won’t rule out the possibility of Gibbs returning Saturday against La Salle.

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Guaranteed fun at UTSA

Texas-San Antonio coach Brooks Thompson wants a good turnout for Saturday’s Conference USA game against the Charlotte 49ers in the worst way: he is offering a money-back guarantee.

“If you come to our game on Saturday and don’t have a good time we’ll refund the cost of your ticket,” Thompson told the Roadrunners website. “Bring your family and friends and come to the Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon. What do you have to lose?”

UTSA (13-10, 7-5) beat Charlotte (10-14, 3-8) in San Antonio last season. For the record, the website said that to take advantage of the “Thompson Guarantee,” tickets must be purchased with a credit card, as all refunds will be credited back to your card. To get a refund, fans must return their tickets to the ticket office during or after Saturday’s game and complete the refund request form.

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