If a basketball game is tied at the end of regulation play, the ball will have to keep bouncing until someone gains an edge at the buzzer. The extra session is called overtime (or “OT” for short), and the rules regarding this aspect of the game vary by level of play -- whether it is the professional, college, international or high school game. That said, all overtime rules are the same for both male and female players.
The National Basketball Association holds five-minute overtime periods, regardless of how many OTs are played. The NBA consists of four 12-minute quarters, and allows for 130 seconds between the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, as well as between each overtime period. The most overtimes in an NBA game is six. That happened in 1951 in a game between the Indianapolis Olympians and Rochester Royals, which the Olympians won, 75-73.
Unlike the NBA, college basketball uses two 20-minutes halves, as opposed to four quarters. However, all programs affiliated with the NCAA (Divisions I, II and III) play five-minute overtimes, just like in the pros. The Cincinnati and Bradley men’s teams played seven overtimes in 1981 for the NCAA Division I record, with Bradley gaining a 91-90 victory.
High school basketball uses four eight-minute quarters, with overtime typically lasting four minutes at the varsity level (freshman and junior varsity teams often play three-minute overtimes, although rules vary by state). According to Trivia Library, the record for overtimes in a high school game is 13. It took place in North Carolina in 1964, with Boone Trail edging Angier, 56-54.
Olympic and most international pro teams follow the NBA’s lead and use five-minute overtime periods (following four 10-minute quarters). No Olympic basketball game, men’s or women’s, has ever exceeded three overtimes.
Other OT Rules
Player fouls are carried over from regulation into overtime. In other words, if a high school player has four fouls headed into OT, then picks up another foul, he is disqualified. Also, overtimes at all levels begin with a jump ball at center court, just as at the beginning of the game. One extra full timeout per OT is provided in Olympic play, compared to three for the NBA. Meanwhile, the NCAA awards one 30-second timeout per OT, as well as any unused 30-second timeouts from the second half.
- Photo Credit basketball image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com
NBA Playoff Rules & Regulations
Unlike other sports with a "wild card" format, regular season records rule when it comes to 10 of the 16 teams making...
NCAA Basketball Overtime Rules
When the buzzer sounds signaling the end of regulation, a tied NCAA basketball game goes into overtime. Each extra period lasts five...
Overtime and Team Foul Rules in NBA Basketball
The National Basketball Association was originally called the Basketball Association of America, which was founded in 1946 in New York City. The...
College Basketball Timeout Rules
The official NCAA College Basketball Rulebook defines a "timeout" as, "a designated allocation of time ... provided to a team that causes...
The Overtime Rules for High School Soccer
High school soccer is popular sport played by student-athletes from around the country. Overtime in these soccer matches can prove dramatic. Some...
Indiana High School Basketball Rules
The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) sponsors and regulates all public school athletic events in the state. The mission of the...
Official High School Basketball Rules
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) regulates the official rules of high school basketball. The NFHS provides a detailed...