Quick Answer – How Long is a Basketball Game?

The game of basketball is in play in almost every place. Be it at office, school, or college – this sport is popular and makes for a heavy session of working out! While the average length of a basketball game comprises four quarters, lasting for 10 minutes each, this time varies according to places and situations.

For example, there is a variation in the match’s length while playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), college, high school, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), etc. In addition, the overtime duration is useful where there is a draw, all varying in different levels. Listed below are some durations each different level takes while playing a basketball game.

Length of a College Basketball Game

  • In a college basketball game, the match comprises two quarters lasting for 20 minutes each.
  • Just like in the NBA, the half-time for matches in college lasts for 15 minutes while the overtime period is not over five minutes.
  • For a broadcast college basketball game, the game lasts for two hours and 10 minutes.

Length of an NCAA Basketball Game

  • For NCAA, the body of college basketball, the matches last for a long time.
  • Time-outs in these kinds of matches last for up to half an hour of the whole game.
  • In case of a scenario where the basketball hits one of the basket hoops, or the opposing team comes in possession of the ball, the shot clock comes into action. In such cases, the time allotted for the shot clock varies.
  • In an NCAA game, the time allotted for the shot clock is up to 35 seconds for men’s games and 30 seconds for women’s games.

Length of An NBA Basketball Game

  • On an average, an NBA game takes up to 48 minutes.
  • An NBA game comprises four quarters which last for 12 minutes each. In case of a tie, the game time will increase. In a basketball match, the overtime should last for not over five minutes.
  • In an NBA game, half-time lasts for about 15 minutes. Half-time, time-outs and fouls take up a lot of time that results in the match getting extended for a longer period.
  • The shot clock in an NBA game is 24 seconds.

Length of A High School Basketball Game

  • For basketball matches in high school, the game lasts for 32 minutes. With the breathers, fouls and clock-stops, the approximate duration of the game goes up to a maximum of an hour and a half.
  • Basketball games in high school also have four quarters, though each of them lasts for eight minutes. In between the second and third quarters, there is an allotment of half-time which lasts for ten minutes.
  • In case of a tie, the over-time is four minutes in a high school basketball match.

Length of a professional basketball game

  • For any professional basketball match, the duration of the game depends on the association in charge of the game. For example, while an NBA game lasts for 48 minutes, an International Basketball Federation (FIBA) game lasts for 40 minutes.
  • For a professional game, the duration of the whole match can go up to two hours and 15 minutes, including the time taken for fouls, breaks, time-outs, etc.
  • An NBA game has four mandatory time-outs.
  • Lastly, in a basketball final, the match can go on for even over three hours.


Playing basketball or any other sport takes a lot of strength, energy and even mental analysis. This workout takes a toll on the body and demands some time-out. In basketball, the basis of time-out depends on different rules according to the leagues in play. This makes the duration of the game longer.

High school

In a high school basketball game, the players or even the coach can call for a time out when things do not seem to go according to plan. There are five time-outs in a basketball game in high school.

High school basketball games also have three 60-second time-outs and two 30-second time outs per game.


For an NCAA basketball game, the total number of time-outs can vary depending on whether or not it is a game televised. This is so because for a basketball game on television, there will be media time-outs during which there will be advertisements playing on the particular channel.

For a broadcast game, there will be one 60-second time-out and four 30 second time-outs. For a non-broadcast game, there will be four 75 second time-outs and two 30 second time-outs.


For an NBA basketball game, the rules of time-outs are different. Here, only the players can call for a time-out, with each team having six full time-outs and one 20 second time-out.

The Shot Clock

It can happen that the leading team tries to stall the game, preventing the opponent team from making shots. To prevent these kinds of scenarios and to speed up the game, a shot clock comes into play.

Simply put, a shot clock is the allotted period the player has to shoot the ball. In case there is a change in possession of the ball or the ball strikes the rim of the basket, the shot clock starts over.

The time for shot clock varies from level to level. For example, for an NCAA basketball game, the time is 35 seconds and 24 seconds for NBA.


For a basketball enthusiast, keeping track of the different lengths of the game is vital for enjoying the match. And in basketball, there is no tie. Therefore, it is essential to attend the right game without having to leave the match mid-way!