DESOTO -- A college scholarship at Long Island University and an internship on Wall Street are in Eric Reed’s future.
On a stormy Tuesday evening, the 6-6 Mesquite senior post was “money’’ from the free throw line, connecting on 12-of-12 in the Skeeters’ 55-52 upset of DeSoto, No. 5 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10, on the Eagles home floor.
DeSoto dropped into a three-way tie for first place in District 11-5A with Mesquite and Mesquite Horn at 3-1.
Reed attributed his free throw success to increased emphasis in practice.
“I’ve shot a lot of them the last month because Coach [Brian] Curts said they would be important,’’ he said. “Winning this game over here shows our potential, what we can do.’’
Reed did a little of everything, hitting 6-of-10 field goal attempts (including a 3-pointer) on the way to 25 points. In the fourth quarter, Reed contributed a crucial blocked shot, an assisting pass to Davion Keys for Mesquite’s final field goal and two rock-solid free throws with 24 seconds to go to increase the lead from two to four points.
“Eric played a huge game for us,’’ said Curts. “DeSoto doesn’t lose very often in its gym.’’
Mesquite (14-9) had to survive a late comeback by DeSoto (22-5) that was led by 6-4 junior guard Matt Jones.
Jones, who is committed to Duke, connected on four 3-pointers and matched Reed’s 25 points. But his 3-point bid to force overtime in the final five seconds from the top of the key bounced harmlessly off the rim and set off a Mesquite celebration.
“We knew Jones would get the ball,’’ Curts said. “He’s a really good player. We made him take a tough shot. We were right there with a hand in his face.’’
Jones was 0-for-7 from the field in the first and third quarters and 9-for-9 in the third and fourth quarters before his last shot.
Mesquite led for all but a five-minute stretch in the second quarter. Four times in the second half the Skeeters went up by 11 points, the last time with six minutes to play. DeSoto’s full-court pressure forced the Skeeters into six turnovers in the final quarter and set the stage for a close finish.
“We didn’t do a good job of taking care of the ball at the end and DeSoto was all over the court,’’ Curts said.
Jones, rated No. 20 nationally in the Class of 2013 by ESPNU, brought the Eagles within a point, 53-52, by hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the evening with 17 seconds remaining.
Mesquite’s Tyler Richardson sank two free throws with 11 seconds to go to push the lead back to three. Junior guard Alex Cooper, who led Mesquite to a home-court victory over DeSoto last season, scored five of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
“Mesquite’s kids played harder from the outset and evidently the game was more important to them than it was to us,’’ DeSoto coach Chris Dyer said. “We didn’t do a good job defending their best players and they dominated us inside.’’