Houston Baptist is having a rough time to start out the season. They’re in the midst of a six game, season opening road trip. They’ve lost all four of their games so far, including a 111-68 dismantling at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines. The record and results might not show much, but the Huskies have a dynamic duo in senior guard Jalon Gates and junior guard Ian DuBose.
Houston Baptist’s offense has been potent all season, averaging just under 74 points per game. Both Gates and DuBose have played major roles in the offense. Jalon Gates came into the game Friday leading the Southland Conference in scoring at 20.7 points per game, and currently sits at second in the conference at 19.3 points per game following the loss. Gates attributed his early season output to his work ethic.
“I work hard, I work very hard on my craft. Obviously when it pays off on the stat sheet, it feels good. Honestly, it sucks losing, I’ll trade in one point for a win,” Gates said following the game.
DuBose isn’t too far behind, coming into the game averaging 16.3 points per game, good for eighth in the conference.
The pair accounts for 48% of the scoring for the Huskies, and they kept that up on Friday. DuBose accounted for 16 points, while Gates had 15 of his own. Gates got the game going for Baptist, hitting a stepback on their first possession of the ballgame.
Gates was asked how he felt about his own performance as well as his team’s performance, he said, “You can’t really feel too down, Michigan’s a really good team, and we just came out with the approach that no matter what, we were going to give it our all. You know, sometimes it’s just not your night, and tonight was one of those nights.”
They shot well from behind the arc, hitting three three pointers each, which accounted for six of the eight on the night for the Huskies. Gates has especially excelled from long range, shooting 42% from three.
Neither player leaves the floor frequently, with one of the two being on the floor at all times. Both players average just roughly 30 minutes per game, letting their presence be felt most every time down the court. Gates led the Huskies in efficiency rating on Friday, while being only fourth in usage rating.
Usage rating is an odd spot for the pair. The main offense isn’t ran through either Gates or DuBose. Myles Pierre is the main option on offense, bringing the ball down and initiating the offense on almost every possession. Pierre does a good job putting the ball in the hands of the duo, and they take advantage. The duo took 30 shots against Michigan, just under 50% of the total shots attempted in the game.
Offense isn’t the only place where Ian DuBose shines. DuBose leads the team in rebounding, grabbing just under seven boards a game. He doesn’t sleep on the offensive boards, with almost half of his total rebounds being from the offensive side. Gates is a more traditional guard, only averaging 1.8 rebounds per game.
This success from the pair comes from different expectations at the start of the season.
Ian DuBose was second team All-Southland last year, and was selected for the preseason All-Southland team again this year. Gates is more of a surprise in the early going for the Huskies. Gates wasn’t selected for the preseason All-Southland team, and wasn’t even an honorable mention.
When asked about not getting any recognition in the preseason, and if it fueled his fire inside, he said “it’s not about proving them wrong, I know how hard I worked, and I know the values my father instilled in me. I just try to go out there and display that every time I go out on the court.”
Gates is in a very different situation this season from what he was in last year. He came off the bench in all 26 games the Huskies played. He averaged only 13.2 minutes per game, contrary to the 29.8 minutes per game he’s been playing this season. Gates says his approach hasn’t changed from last season, although the workload has.
“I always have the mindset of how ever many minutes God gave me, I’ll take advantage of it. That’s what I did last year, whatever time I got, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, I try to do the best I can. I just apply that to the starting role as well.”
When running at the quickest pace in the NCAA, having a pair of guards to go to is key. The Huskies average over 82 possessions a game, giving plenty of opportunities for their guards to get their shots. Spreading shots around to multiple guys, and having the ability to rest your first option is key in the fast paced game that Houston Baptist plays.
With duos being all the rage in basketball today, the Houston Baptist Huskies have a good one in Gates and DuBose. The schedule for the Huskies doesn’t get much easier in the near future, as they continue their season opening six game road trip. The Southland will be tough, but the Huskies have a good pair on their side.