With three Bearcats in double figures, this version of the Bearcats saw their ups and downs against Saginaw Valley, but in the end powered through to a 86-58 victory.
While all eyes were on Stephenson, the floor belonged to Yancy Gates who would play 26 minutes and score 16 points with 7 boards.
Cashmere Wright may have only scored 3 points but he tossed out 7 assists allowing for Deonta Vaughn to be freed up and Mick Cronin for the first time since he took over the program has players that can come off the bench and give him minutes, points and rebounds.
"We've gone from having no one to put in to having too many," Cronin told the media after the game. "It is tough to play 12 guys in a rotation, but it is nice to have options."
For Cronin much is expected out of this years version of the Bearcats and the added ability to have Stephenson on the court will help the team be prepared when the regular season starts for real.
Overall this was a better opening performance than what has been seen in the past few years and while only 6,500 fans showed up excitement in Bearcats basketball should continue to grow.