How long is a Basketball Game? ( Everything You Need To Know! )

How long is a basketball game?

Different basketball levels have different play times. The length of a basketball game depends with the competition and the level of the game. Play time is different for college, high school, NCCA, NBA and professional basketball. All basketball levels use overtime in the event there’s a draw after the basketball game. Overtime is mostly 5 minutes long but additional overtimes are added until one of the teams is ahead of the other. Sometimes high school’s overtime is 4 minutes.



When does the clock run?


When the ball is in play, the clock will always run until the following things happen:

  • Ball gets out of the pitch
  • When a foul is called
  • When there are free throws
  • During time outs.

Once the ball is inbound and a player touches the ball and the clock starts running. If and when a shot is made during the last two minutes of an NBA game, the clock stops and overtime is awarded. As for college basketball, overtime is awarded if a shot is made during the last minute of the game.

The shot clock

To prevent teams from stalling and to speed up the game, they added a shot clock. A shot clock simply means how much time one has to shoot the ball. If there’s a ball possession change or the ball hits the basket’s rim, the clock just starts over.  The shot clock length is different for different levels of basketball namely;

  • NCAA College Men goes for 35 seconds
  • NBA goes for 24 seconds
  • NCAA College Women goes for 30 seconds

It is important to note that not all states use shot clock for high schools. Those that have it must follow the NCAA rules.

Time outs

Man jumping against a basketball hoop

Timeouts are important to give the team some time to rest and the teams can call for a timeout if they need a breather.  Timeouts have different rules and they all differ depending on the league. Below are the timeouts given in different games:

  • High school- The coach or the players on the floor can call for a time out.  A game has a total of five time outs including two 30 second timeouts and three 60 second time outs.
  • NBA- each basketball team in the NBA has six full time outs with one 20 second time outs for every half. In this game, only the player can call for the time out
  • NCAA College- Depending on whether the game is on TV or not, there are different timeouts in this game. When the game is on TV, there are media timeouts to allow the channel to air ads. In the event it is a TV game, each of the teams gets a single 1-minute timeout, and 4 30-second timeouts. If the game is non-TV, there are two 30 seconds timeouts and four 75 seconds timeouts.

How long are NBA games?


A professional game in the NBA has four quarters and each quarter is 12 minutes each. This means that the game will last for 48 minutes. However, the game can take much longer depending on stoppages like timeouts, fouls, injuries, and break in-between. A typical game takes approximately 2-3 hours from the start to the end.

How long is a college basketball game?

A college basketball game goes for 40 minutes, and it uses two halves unlike the four quarters in the typical basketball games. Each of the halves lasts for 20 minutes and there’s a 15 minutes half time. The overtime period is 5 minutes but more time is added until there’s a team that’s ahead of the other.

Televised college games go for approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes

How long is a high school basketball game?

One of the most played games in high school is basketball. This game goes for 32 minutes; however, the total time including breathers, fouls and clock stoppages makes the game last for 1 and a half hours.  Just like it happens in NBA games, the high school basketball has four quarters although they are a bit shorter. Each of the four quarters goes for 8 minutes. Between the second and the third quarter, there’s a half-time of 10 minutes.

In the event there’s a tie between the two teams, 4 minutes overtime is granted and it is added until one of the teams is ahead of the other.

How long is college basketball halftime?

A college basketball halftime is 15 minutes just like the NBA games. A college basketball game has two 20 minute halves, unlike the four quarters that are there in typical matches. Overtime period is 5 minutes but at times if after the 5 minutes there are still at draw more time is added.

A college basketball game that is aired on Television lasts for up to 2 hours and 10 minutes.

How many quarters are in basketball?

Basketball games are played in quarters and each game is played in four quarters of 10 minutes (FIBA) or 12 minutes for NBA. College men games make use of two 20 minute halves while college women games make use of 10 minute quarters. Most US high schools or university games go for 8 minute quarters although this is varied from one state to the other.

How many periods are there in basketball?

A basketball game consists of four 10 minute quarters each. There’s a 15 minutes half time break. Between the first and the second periods, there is a 2 minute interval and another 2 minute interval between the third and the fourth period.

For a high school basketball game, there are four 8 minute periods; there’s a 10 to 15 minutes halftime break and a 1 minute break between the first and the second period and another 1 minute break between the third and the fourth period.

A non-overtime NBA game goes for 2 hours and 15 minutes and this is according to Elias Sports Bureau. If a game ends with a tie, there’s an additional 5 minutes with additional overtime periods being added until there’s a team that’s a head of the other. There are no overtime limits. However, when it comes to fouls, each team is only allowed three fouls just before the opposing gets a bonus as compared to only five fouls allowed in every quarter in regulation. Between the second and third quarters and between the fourth and the fourth quarters, there is a 130 seconds break.