OREM Mountain View has had offensive problems the entire season. But Wednesday evening in their Region 7 battle with Timpview, the Bruins hit a new low.
The Bruins (8-8, 2-5) hit just 25 percent from the field and scored just five points in a critical fourth quarter as the Thunderbirds (11-5, 5-2) escaped with a 38-32 victory.
For all the problems the Bruins had offensively, the Thunderbirds didn't shoot much better. Despite scoring 16 points in the first quarter, the Thunderbirds scored just 15 in the entire second half and shot a nearly just as woeful 39 percent from the field.
"It was one of the ugliest ways to win, but we won," said Thunderbirds sophomore Bronson Kaufusi, who secured a double-double with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Kaufusi, who was averaging 14.1 points per game heading into the matchup, scored 15 in the two teams' previous matchup. He was able to get into the paint throughout the entire game.
"They play good defense, but I was fortunate to get a lot of open shots down low," Kaufusi said.
The Thunderbirds jumped out to an early 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Bruins roared back with a 10-2 run to close the gap to 20-18. The Thunderbirds led 23-18 at halftime.
After falling behind 29-20 in the third quarter, the Bruins put together another surge, scoring the final seven points of the third quarter to bring themselves within two.
The Bruins ended up tying the game at 31 with 4:36 remaining in the game. But then the Thunderbirds turned up the heat and shut the Bruins down for good, scoring seven of the game's final eight points.
Bruins coach Jeff Gardner said he was proud of his team's ability to fight back despite falling behind early but that they need to improve down the stretch.
"Offensively we've got to do a better job scoring at the end of games," he said. "But Timpview's a very good team, and we gave ourselves a chance."
Thunderbirds assistant coach Nate Warner said the defensive battle wasn't too much of a shock to him.
"We know each other very well," he said. "But we made enough plays down the road."
The Thunderbirds won despite an off night by leading scorer, senior Marcus Hunt. Hunt, who was averaging 15.9 points per game heading into the contest, misfired on all six of his shots and ended the game without any points.
Thunderbirds senior Brandon Hatton added 13 points, while junior Mark Wolfert led the Bruins with nine.
This marked the third time the Bruins have been held to less than 35 points. In games against Provo and Alta, the Bruins scored just 31. The 38-point effort was the Thunderbirds' lowest of the season.