clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Broken Records You’re Nuts: Which Ohio State men’s basketball record will hold up forever?

And could there be multiple?

Photo courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com

All this week, LGHL writers will be bring you articles with inspired by their favorite Ohio State records. Check out all of our “Broken Records” thoughts throughout the week HERE. Whether you disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Landgrant33.

Your favorite (or not so much) Land-Grant Holy Land basketball writers Connor Lemons and Justin Golba are back this week with another fun-loving (not really) debate about all things Ohio State basketball. Last week, we debated which Big Ten player has been the biggest pain in the ass to Ohio State recently.

Connor took another victory (starting to think this might be rigged, I am looking into it) with his pick of Purdue big man Trevion Williams with 54% (21) of the votes while Justin Golba’s pick of Michigan big man Hunter Dickinson finished in second place with 28% (11) of the votes. Other brought up the end with 18% (7) of the votes. Honestly curious who those guys would be but nevertheless, moving on.

After 10 weeks

Connor- 6
Justin- 2
Other- 2
(Five weeks ago there was a tie)

As we move into another week, Connor holds a four-week lead on Justin 6-2, while “other” has won two weeks. “Other” is officially as smart as Justin.

This week, we are talking broken records at Land-Grant Holy Land. You can catch awesome and compelling articles all week on the LGHL main page with stories related to broken records and Ohio State.

Since we are the basketball writers, we are taking a basketball approach to this. We are looking at the records we feel are untouchable or the least likely to be broken as the years progress. This can be career, single season or anything in between. Just anything in the record book we feel will not be broken.

As always, if you agree with one of us, let us know in the comments below, or respond on Twitter! We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in particular, or anything Ohio State-hoops related!

Today’s Question: Which Ohio State basketball record will never be touched?


Connor’s pick: Dennis Hopson’s single-season free throw record - 215 (1986-1987)

Ohio State University Dennis Hopson Set Number: X34312 TK2 R2 F20

Much like myself in intramural basketball, Dennis Hopson was rock solid at the free throw line during his career, shooting just below 80% from the charity stripe during his four seasons in Columbus. He’s also from Toledo, just like myself, and stands 6-foot-5, just like my — well, never mind.

Hopson’s 1986-1987 season was one of the greatest in Ohio State men’s basketball history. He was named a consensus All-American, First Team All-Big Ten, and the B1G Player of the Year after averaging 29 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.2 steals per game over 35.1 minutes per contest. He also knocked down an absurd amount of free throws — 215, to be exact. But while the raw amount is astounding, his shooting percentage actually leaves one to wonder if he could have knocked down more, perhaps?

Hopson shot 81.4% from the free throw line during his senior season, which is a very good number, but not elite or eye-popping. Well then how in the world did he set the Ohio State single-season record for made free throws? The answer: he shot a whopping 264 free throws altogether, averaging eight attempts per game! This is the second-most free throws attempted in one season in Ohio State basketball history, behind Jared Sullinger’s 267 during the 2010-2011 season. He also took an insane 653 shots that season, which averages out to roughly 20 shots per game. To this day, that is the most shot attempts in one season (in Ohio State history) by nearly 70 shots.

Apparently teams conceded that they couldn’t stop Hopson so they chose to foul him instead, and more often than not, he converted at the line. He was fairly efficient at the foul line, but the pure amount of shots he took for the 1986-1987 Buckeyes is what sent him to the line so often. And despite being a 42% three-point shooter that season, 76% of his shots came inside the three-point line, which — naturally — lead to more fouls being drawn.

Now, why will this record never be touched? For one, college basketball players just aren’t great at free throws. I’ve always considered 75% to be the cutoff where I’d consider someone a “good” free-throw shooter. During the 2020-2021 season, college basketball collectively shot 70.9% from the charity stripe, solidly below that 75% mark and nearly falling below 70% as well. While three-point shots are going up each season, free throw efficiency is falling. The reasons for this are complex and beyond the scope of this piece, so we won’t even get into it.

Second, fewer shots are being taken below the basket, so there aren’t as many fouls being called. Sure, three-point shooters get hacked every now and then, but as long-distance shots become more commonplace, we should expect free throws to trend downward.

For example, during the 1986-87 season, Ohio State took 1747 shot attempts, 285 of which were from downtown. That equates to roughly 16% of their shots coming from beyond the arc. As a general assumption, we’d expect more fouls to be called on two-point shots than three-point shots.

During the 2020-2021 season, Ohio State took 1786 shots, 700 (!!) of which were from downtown. That equates to roughly 39% of their total shots, more than double what was shot 36 years earlier.

The bottom line: players aren’t great at free throws, and the game is evolving to a point where fouls on the shot just are not as common as they once were. Because of that, I don’t think Ohio State will ever have a player knock down 216 free throws in one season.


Justin’s pick: Robin Freeman’s career scoring average - 28.0 (1954-1956)

In this day and age, where basketball players are as good as ever, it is hard to call any record completely unbreakable.

However, if there are any unbreakable records in the Ohio State basketball record book, it has to be the career scoring average of the legendary Robin Freeman.

Robin Freeman is known as one of the greatest basketball players to ever come out of Cincinnati and the state of Ohio.

Freeman played for Ohio State from 1954-1956 and averaged 28.0 points per game in his time with the Buckeyes. Naturally, this was without the three-point shot as college basketball did not adapt that until almost 30 years later.

When looking through the Ohio State basketball record book and the scoring records, it is hard to find any scoring records, single season or career, that do not include Freeman’s name at or near the top of them.

In 1956, Freeman averaged 32.9 points per game, a mark that still stands as the top single season scoring average. The only other Buckeye in program history to average over 30 points in a season was Gary Bradds in 1964 when he averaged 30.6 points per contest.

Ohio State has seen some incredible scorers grace the program throughout the years, so the fact that Freeman holds so many spots in the record books is something to marvel at. In the top 10 individual scoring games, Freeman pops up five separate times with a 46-point game, 45-point game and three 43-point games on his ledger.

Freeman was a fairly small guard, standing at just 5-foot-11, but made sure his presence was known immensely when he was on the court at all levels.

Freeman was a scorer from day one, averaging an astounding 39.5 points per game during his senior season at Cincinnati Hughes High School.

He has 1,597 career points but that is only in 57 games. His junior year was a roller coaster, as he was averaging 31.5 points per game through the first 13 games but missed the rest of the season due to health concerns. Even though he only played in 13 games, he was a consensus All-American that season. That shows not only the respect his peers had for his game but also their confidence that he would be able to keep up that scoring pace if he would not have gotten sick.

There is another stat that makes this one even more impressive. Dennis Hopson holds the single season points record by over 200 points at 958. That is an insane number for one single season. However, for a guy to break that record now, assuming they play roughly 30-32 games (Ohio State played 31 games last season), they would need to average 29-31 points per game. That is not too far off from Freeman’s scoring average for his entire career of 28 points per game.

He scored 723 points in 1956, a single season mark that still stands as third in program history.

Freeman was a pure scorer and someone who simply put the ball in the hoop. And he did it well. Ohio State has had some great scorers recently with the likes of Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner and D’Angelo Russell and none of them even came close to averaging 28 points per game in a season, much less for their career.

I simply do not see this record being touched ever.


Poll

Which record is LESS likely to be broken?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Dennis Hopson’s 215 free throws in 1986 (Connor)
    (20 votes)
  • 50%
    Robin Freeman’s 28 points per game from 1954-1956 (Justin)
    (26 votes)
  • 11%
    There are too many records for an "other" choice, you need to pick one of these two choices. Do not click this.
    (6 votes)
52 votes total Vote Now