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It's no surprise that No. 24 Florida Atlantic is involved in a big game down the stretch this season in the American Athletic Conference.

On the other hand, it's a big surprise that the opponent leads the Owls and everyone else in the league.

South Florida has experienced an impressive turnaround under first-year coach Amir Abdur-Rahim, ripping off 10 straight wins to enter the teams' showdown Sunday in Tampa, Fla., in first place in the AAC.

The Bulls (18-5, 11-1) leaned on its defense to dump Tulsa at home Wednesday night 69-50, limiting the Golden Hurricane to a season-low point total that was 25 points below their season average. Defense has been the foundation of South Florida's success as it has limited opponents to 42.1 percent shooting from the floor and 31.1 percent on 3-pointers.

The Bulls average 10.8 turnovers per game this season but had 15 on Wednesday night, which did not please Abdur-Rahim.

"To take the next step," he said, "we can't have 15 turnovers on our home court. Even though we had 17 assists, we can't have 15 turnovers. I'll always be pleased with a win but I won't be satisfied."

That might be why South Florida is boasting the second-longest winning streak in program history. The 1980-81 team ran off 12 straight wins, back when it opened a new arena known as the Sun Dome. It's now called the Yuengling Center and it's sold out for Sunday's game.

Chris Youngblood leads a balanced Bulls attack. He is averaging 14.7 points and is hitting 41.8 percent of his 3-pointers. Selton Miguel is second on the team, averaging 14.3 points and sinking 41 percent from distance. Kasean Pryor is scoring 12 points per game and averaging a team-high 7.4 rebounds.

Florida Atlantic (20-5, 10-2) is coming off an 80-68 win Thursday night in Boca Raton, Fla., over Temple, finishing with five players scoring in double figures. Johnell Davis scored 17 points, just under his season average of 18.5, as the Owls shot 49.1 percent from the floor and made 12 of 29 3-pointers.

Coach Dusty May said his team has to do a better job of moving the ball and moving without it, citing a stretch in which the Owls saw their 17-point lead dwindle to four.

"A body in motion stays in motion," he said. "Once our bodies stopped moving, we weren't as aggressive on the glass, we weren't getting to the long rebounds. And that's because we all have a responsibility to keep it moving and not hold it. Once we start holding it, we lost our aggression on the glass."

Florida Atlantic will bring its high-powered offense, which averages 83.3 points, to face South Florida's defense, which yields 68 points per game. The Owls have seven players averaging at least 6.3 ppg, with 7-1 Vladislav Goldin checking in at 14.1 points per game and Alijah Martin scoring 13.3.

Florida Atlantic has won nine of its last 10 games since a defeat Jan. 6 at Charlotte, which is also 10-2 in the league. This is the Owls' only meeting of the season with the Bulls.

--Field Level Media

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