Shepard finished with a game-high 22 points, going 10-for-15, and also added a game-high five assists.
“It’s time for me to continue to be more consistent,” Shepard said at the post-game press conference. “Since I got here, at any given game, I could explode. At that same time, I’ve also had games where I didn’t play that well, so I’ve just been working this whole summer and offseason on just trying to stay consistent.”
The win against CSUSM marked the first time that fans got a chance to see freshman point guard Jeremy Hemsley and redshirt-freshman forward Zylan Cheatham in game action.
Cheatham showed off the athleticism he is lauded for, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds in 15 minutes, and threw down a hard dunk midway through the second half on a breakaway.
“He plays with a motor that is hard to coach; he plays with good energy,” coach Steve Fisher said. ” He, at times tries too hard, but that is not unnatural for a guy that didn’t play at all last year and is so anxious to get out there.”
Hemsley looked a little shaky out of the gate, going 2-for-11 from the field and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers.
Fisher was still happy with the aggressiveness he showed in his debut, and said he’s a “keeper.”
Sophomore forward Malik Pope did not suit up due to a knee injury, but Fisher said after the game he would have played if it was a regular season conference game.
Junior forward Dakari Allen started in his place and led the team with three steals.
The teams official season opener takes place against Illinois State at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Viejas Arena.