The Griz found their comfort zone Sunday night.
Playing just their second home game in seven outings, Montana's shooters found their stroke in a 69-57 men's basketball win over North Dakota State in front of 2,752 fans at Dahlberg Arena.
The Griz (3-4) shot 47 precent from the field overall, 45 percent from 3-point range and 86 percent from the free-throw line -- numbers Coach Travis DeCuire expected at the start of the season.
"You sleep in your own bed, we shortened practice up for a couple of days," DeCuire said. "I thought we were fresh. The way (North Dakota State) plays defense is they let you come out and do what you do and then contest (the shot), and that allowed us to get a rhythm. Once we got a rhythm it was kind of hard for them to slow us down in stretches."
One of those stretches came with the Griz already holding an 18-13 lead. Martin Breunig scored nine straight Griz points to push the lead to 27-15 with 8:52 left in the first half. Montana's lead dipped under double digits just once the rest of the way.
Once Breunig started dominating inside -- he finished with 18 points -- the Bison (4-4) started double-teaming Montana's low post man, which opened things up for shooters like Jordan Gregory (20 points on 4-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc) and Brandon Gfeller (10 points and a pair of treys).
"They started doubling from the corner and leaving us untouched in the corner for wide-open threes," Gregory said. "That's all it took was for one of us to knock down a wide-open three and then a few of us started getting our confidence up."
At the same time, the Griz were playing solid defense, holding the Bison to 31 percent shooting while taking a 35-21 lead at intermission.
"We did a good job to hold them to 31 percent and minimized their 3-point attempts," DeCuire said. "The second half I think we kind of played to the score a little bit, which is human but not what we do. We end up giving up 46 percent in the second half. We would have liked to hold them to under 40."
The biggest reason the Bison's shooting percentage went up was the play of guard Lawrence Alexander, who scored more than half his team's points with 29 on 11-for-20 shooting.
The Bison crept within 44-33 on a pair of free throws by Dexter Werner with 11:43 to play, but Gregory ignited another one of those hot stretches. He scored his team's next 10 points as the lead ballooned to 54-37 with 7:33 to play.
Twice Gregory scored on drives to the rim and twice he knocked down treys.
"That's the thing the coaches tell us is to be multi-faceted," Gregory said. "If we're only shooting threes, then they're going to pick up on that and take that away. If we're playing through the post, which is what we really try to do now, whether that be getting the ball to our big men or getting to the basket, it's going to open shots from the outside."
On a negative note, Griz senior Mike Weisner rolled his right ankle with 16:09 to play and did not return. He was on crutches following the game and said he'd have X-rays on Monday.
"We'll see what happens," DeCuire said. "Hopefully a little ice and the swelling will go down and he'll be good to go. We're kind of waiting to see."
Montana will stay at home -- a rarity so far this season -- to face Davidson on Wednesday night.
"You start to feel what you're capable of," DeCuire said of his team. "Fortunately for us, we had a chance to pull away from someone. I thought that was good for our confidence. I think right now offensively we're more confident. Defensively, we're starting to figure some things out."
FAST BREAKS: The Griz won the rebounding battle 31-29 behind seven from Breunig and five apiece from Gregory and Mario Dunn. ... Montana had 17 assists on 24 made baskets; Dunn led with seven with just one turnover. ... The Griz turned the ball over just three times in the first half and finished with 11 give-aways. ... Montana owned a 17-6 edge in points off turnovers and a 15-9 advantage in bench scoring.