Looking back on a career: Matt Johnson in perspective

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With each sports season comes some athlete’s last time playing.
For the Gannon University men’s basketball team, Matthew Johnson is one of those players.
Johnson, from Chicago, is a senior point guard on the team and sport and exercise science major.
He began playing the sport at a young age, with his parents starting him out playing biddy basketball in kindergarten. He has played ever since.
Johnson said his experience at Gannon has been great, with awesome fan support within the community, and he has enjoyed being able to compete at such a high level.
In his first season, he was one of six players to appear in all 32 games for the Knights. He was also named a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete.
A top moment for him was making it to the PSAC championship as a sophomore.
With that, his goal for this season is helping lead the team to a PSAC championship.
At this point, the Knights have their work cut out for them, as they’ve compiled an overall record of 7-8 and a 6-5 mark in PSAC play.
That 6-5 PSAC record puts them smack in the middle of the PSAC West standings.
Gannon will look to improve on both of those marks when California University of Pennsylvania visits the Hammermill Center Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. matchup.
The Knights are coming off a heartbreaking 58-55 loss to rival Mercyhurst Saturday on the road.
Johnson’s heroics down the stretch put the Knights in position to win the game, but it wasn’t to be.
Johnson buried a jump shot in the lane while being fouled on the play, and he converted a free throw with 21 seconds to play to tie the game at 55-55.
But Mercyhurst’s Trystan Pratapas sank a 3-pointer with just two seconds remaining in the game to give the rival Lakers the win in the battle for the Porreco Pride of Erie Cup.
Johnson finished with a team-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor, and he hit all four of his free throws. He added five rebounds, three assists and one steal.
DeAnte Cisero added 14 points for Gannon.
Coming into the season, Johnson was excited for the new coaching staff led by Kelvin Jefferson, and also having his teammates back and healthy.
During his basketball career at Gannon, Johnson said he has had a tremendous amount of support from the people in his life.
“I have a lot of people who have helped me get to this position of being a college basketball player,” he said.
“Too many to name, but I get a lot of texts and calls from family and friends who are always supporting. So they keep me going, through the good and the bad.”
On the season to date, Johnson is averaging 7.3 points per game, good for fourth on the team. He also averages 2.6 rebounds, and is second on the team in assists with 43.
Prior to the loss to Mercyhurst, Gannon beat Clarion, 61-53, on Jan. 15.
Top scorers of the game included Chris Clancy (22 points) and Cisero with 17.
Following Wednesday’s matchup with Cal U, the Knights will play a Care Game doubleheader against East Stroudsburg University at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hammermill Center.

SARAH McLAUGHLIN
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