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Subject: Ernie "Pops" Lewis, captain of the Providence NCAA team that made the Final Four in 1987, dies at 51

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Date Posted: Thursday, January 11, 11:41:25am

Former Providence College basketball player Ernie "Pop" Lewis, one of the stars on the Friars team that made a run to the Final Four in 1987, died Wednesday at his home in Philadelphia, family members said.

Lewis was co-captain of the 1987 team, which was coached by Rick Pitino. Lewis, Billy Donovan and Delray Brooks led Providence's magical run that season. The Friars finished 25-9, losing to Syracuse in the national semifinal.

That season was the first that allowed the 3-point shot in college basketball, and the Friars took advantage. The 6-foot-4 Lewis put up 220 shots from behind the arc that season and hit 42 percent of them.

His 3-pointer to beat nationally ranked Georgetown in a Big East clash in January 1987 remains one of the most memorable shots in Friars history. He hit the shot from the corner with less than three seconds left in the game to seal the win.

Lewis played in 102 games at Providence, averaging 7.5 points and 2.9 rebounds. He averaged 11.8 points per game and 4.2 rebounds during the 1986-87 season.


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