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AP Photo/Paul E. Thomson

Basketball is just one of the most famous sports in the world. It’s play in pretty lot every country you deserve to think of. The National Basketball Association, i beg your pardon is a member that USA Basketball and recognized by FIBA (International Basketball Federation) as the nationwide governing body for basketball in the unified States, is composed of teams each precious billions that dollars. The NBA Finals alone paint, etc tens of countless viewers every year.

You are watching: How long to college basketball games last

Many fans watch basketball because it’s usually nonstop action. But before LeBron James to be gliding coast-to-coast because that a dunk or before Michael Jordan was hitting clutch run shots or even before Steph Curry was swishing three-pointers indigenous the half-court line, basketball was boring and also in decrease in the 1950s.


The implementation of the shot clock basically saved the game and also put fans in the seats as soon as it was introduced. Prior to it, NBA teams might hold the sphere for as lengthy as they’d like once they had a lead. The result? last scores prefer 19-18 as soon as the Fort Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers in 1950. Dean blacksmith made a life implementing a “four corners” stall offense in college the was unstoppable due to the fact that there was no shoot clock.

The game that basketball and also its rules — because that which there room plenty — have actually been revised transparent the year to placed the best feasible product on the court possible.

That being said, one pushing question many brand-new fans questioning is: exactly how long is a basketball game? the answer varies since different rules exist for the many levels the basketball that encompass professional basketball, Olympic basketball, university basketball, high school and youth basketball.

How long Is an NBA Basketball Game?

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AP Photo/Kathy Willens

NBA gamings are divided into four quarters, each of which last 12 minutes long. That method there room 48 full minutes of beat in a single game. Halftime provides played a 15-minute rest to enable them to rest in between the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Each overtime period lasts 5 minutes.


The average length of a basketball video game in the NBA lasts all over from 2-3 hrs after factoring in team timeouts, replay reviews, shooting fouls, TV timeouts, halftime breaks, breathers and also other stoppages. Most game lengths are around two and a half hours.

How long Is a college Basketball Game?

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

College basketball gamings are slightly different. NCAA men’s basketball games consist of two 20-minute halves, adding up to 40 complete minutes of video game time. Every overtime period is 5 minutes long. NCAA women’s college games room played in 4 10-minute quarters just favor WNBA games are. Both take about two hours from start to finish.

Most high school basketball games in the United states are played in 8-minute quarters, yet that different from state to state.

How The shoot Clock adjusted Basketball

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AP Photo/Michael Okoniewski

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Back in 1954, the Syracuse Nationals owner Danny Biasone and also general manager Leo Farris started implementing a 24-second shot clock during scrimmages. The an outcome was a faster, higher-scoring video game that the NBA officially embraced for the 1954-55 season.

The shoot clock totally revolutionized the game. Point out soared, as did attendance. Some claimed it conserved basketball, others stated it rescued it. Either way, everyone remained in favor that it.


The NBA right now uses a 24-second shoot clock. This method teams need to shoot the ball prior to that time expires, or rather they lose possession that the ball. The shooting clock resets come 14 secs in the NBA ~ an attack rebound ~ above a missed shoot or complimentary throw the hit the rim.

The national Collegiate athletic Association (NCAA) currently uses a 30-second shot clock for both men and also women’s basketball matches. The league introduced a 45-second shoot clock in 1985 and reduced it come 35 2nd in 1993 prior to landing top top a 30-second shooting clock in 2015.

How plenty of Timeouts are In a Basketball Game?

The game clock stop a whole lot in the NBA, i beg your pardon is why the league has tried to rate up games by limiting the variety of timeouts teams deserve to call. Together of the 2017-18 season, NBA teams are enabled seven timeouts per game. Each team is likewise only afforded 2 timeouts in the final three minutes, a change of speed from once it could call three timeouts in the final two minutes.

Each timeout in these expert games last 75 seconds. The NBA offered to enable 100-second timeouts and also “20-second” timeouts the were actually more like 60 seconds.

The NCAA permits three 30-second timeouts per game, 2 of which deserve to roll over right into the 2nd half. In addition, teams acquire one 60-second timeout that deserve to be called at any type of time that the game. High school games follow a similar model to university rules.


#DidYouKnow in january 1951,Indianapolis Olympians & Rochester Royals battled over six OVERTIMES to decide the winner? pic.twitter.com/aoiv9dhyZh

— NBAIndia (
NBAHistory was a regular-season game: Jan. 6, 1951: 6OT (78 minutes) Indianapolis Olympians 75, Rochester Royals 73. The Royals (photo) would eventually win the
NBA championship that season in a trembling seven-game series over the
NYKnicks pic.twitter.com/bfI3XFORcx

— NBA history (
NBAHistory) might 4, 2019


There’s a reason the NBA has actually stricter time limit now. Look at no additional than a game played on January 6, 1951, for simply why that is.

The Rochester Royals and Indianapolis Olympians squared turn off in a (not for this reason epic) game that wound up lasting a complete time of 78 minutes and also six overtimes, good for the longest NBA basketball video game in history. The bout, i beg your pardon took place at Edgerton Park Arena in Rochester, new York, was at some point won through the Olympians.

What’s horrendous is that just 18 points to be scored in the timeframe that the entire six overtimes. No team score in the 2nd and fourth overtimes. Why? due to the fact that the team who started with the ball tended to wait for the clock to operation out prior to throwing up the last shot.


From the Rochester Democrat: “ more than 26 that the 30 overtime minutes, the round stayed nicely tucked far under an eight of a imperial or Olympian player. One or one more player just stood there with the score tied, waiting out the clock for a last-second ?nothing-to-lose? shot. ? Customers that complained were burned up in ~ the unchallenged freeze. Because that the Olympians, it certain wasn?t good basketball, but it paid off.”


Booooooring. That’s a far cry from the moment Tracy McGrady score 13 points in 33 seconds, a feat that actually occurred in a expert basketball league and also is still remarkable.

The Longest game in NCAA History


Today in #sportshistory in 1981 Cincinnati defeated Bradley 75-73 in 7 OTs in the longest video game in NCAA competition. Pic.twitter.com/Cfq9Vasua8

— OTBS digital (

As because that college basketball, the longest game in NCAA men’s basketball history was a comparable 75-minute, seven-overtime game between Bradley and Cincinnati in 1981. The came before a shot clock was applied as well.

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The sports of basketball has come a long way since the pre-shot clock days. I’m not certain we’ll ever see one more six- or seven-overtime game, and also that’s most likely for the best. The median points per game per team is the highest that been because the 1980s, therefore sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

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About the author: Patrick Pinak, staff Writer
Patrick covered the Florida Gators during the forgettable will Muschamp and also Jim McElwain eras prior to spending two seasons writing for significant League Baseball. He"s a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. He resides in southern Florida but his heart belongs in Gainesville, Florida.