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Bulls look to win seventh straight

MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME TIMEUAB (7-3) at USF (6-3)When: Saturday, 7 p.m.Where: Sun DomeTV/Radio: Catch 47/1250 AM

All eyes on the court will be focused on freshman guard Dominique Jones. Off the court, all the attention will be on football coach Jim Leavitt.

After consecutive 30-point performances against Central Florida and Richmond, Jones has become the Bulls’ leading scorer with an average of 15.8 points per game.

“He makes some shots and they come at key times on key plays,” coach Stan Heath said. “It’s a nice luxury to be able to say ‘Let’s clear it and let him go’ and the shots go in. He’s really doing some things where he’s had some great intensity.”

In USF’s 36 years of playing basketball, the team hasn’t faced an opponent more times than Alabama Birmingham. The Blazers have won 36 of 55 meetings all-time.

Both programs lost to Rhode Island earlier this year, but the Bulls were able to defeat Florida State. The Seminoles defeated UAB by eight.

The Blazers have won five straight, including a 74-53 rout of Big East team Cincinnati.

“We’ve got our hands full. We’ve got to get back home and study that film hard,” Heath said. “We’re playing at home and we’re playing with momentum on our side. I’m just hoping a whole lot of fans come out and give us a lot of support in that game.”

Saturday’s game has drawn additional buzz with the announcement that Leavitt will paint his body green and gold during halftime.

“I’m fired up about it – I know our student body will be,” Heath said. “I know it’s going to have the Sun Dome really rocking and I appreciate him for helping us build our basketball program like that.”

When the Bulls head into the locker rooms for the half, they said it’ll be hard to not peek out and see what is going on with Leavitt.

“To have him get painted is something you wouldn’t expect (from) a person of his caliber,” point guard Chris Howard said. “But for him coming out to support basketball, especially in that way, is definitely exciting.”

As the USF football team prepares for its Sun Bowl appearance Dec. 31, Heath said he wasn’t sure if he’d do the same – getting painted up – any time soon.

“I’d have to check with my wife,” he said.