List of most overtimes in NCAA games: The top 5 longest games in college basketball history

List of most overtimes in NCAA games: The top 5 longest games in college basketball history

Time appears to halt when it comes to the longest college basketball games ever played. A collegiate basketball game typically consists of two 20-minute halves, although it’s not unheard of for there to be one or two five-minute overtime periods required to break a tie. However, history is made as overtime accumulates. By this point, the teams have effectively played one half of a second game and four overtimes.

However, a lot of games continue after four overtimes. A thorough examination of the NCAA record book finds a number of incredible games that lasted far longer than average. The games with the most overtimes are the ones that tell the tales of the longest college basketball games ever played.

The five longest college basketball games ever played

5. (tie) Several five overtime games, like the Notre Dame/Louisville game in 2013

There are a lot of five-overtime games, even though the exact number is unknown. However, the 2013 game between No. 11 Louisville and No. 25 Notre Dame was probably the greatest. In this wild contest, two ranked teams facing off in a conference matchup put even more on the line.

With 51 seconds remaining in regulation, Louisville was safely ahead, 56-48. However, Notre Dame made a comeback to even the score and start the extra innings. Between the two teams in the contest, there were 97 free throws made.

Russ Smith’s three-point attempt to tie the game at the clock was missed, and Notre Dame won 104-101 after rallying to a three-point lead in the fifth OT. However, two months after Notre Dame won the game, Louisville won the national championship.

4. 1953 (tie) Niagra/Siena (6 OT)

It’s amazing that more games didn’t end in a tonne of overtime before shot clocks became standard in college basketball. Three of the four longest NCAA games in history were prior to the shot clock’s execution in 1985.

Among them was the match between Niagara and Siena in 1953. Having just fallen out of the AP Top 25 prior to the game, Niagara was an impressive opponent. However, the season-long 10-11 match at Siena remained too close to call. Niagara’s 88-81 6 OT victory was made possible by its outstanding player, Larry Costello, who would go on to become a member of the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.

3. (1955) Minnesota/Purdue, 6 OT (tie).

The premise behind the second six-overtime game in only three seasons—Minnesota defeating Purdue in 1955—was that anything worthwhile was worth repeating.

There was a pre-shot-clock attitude in the game. Purdue won the jump ball and kept possession of the ball for the duration of each of the first three overtimes, taking and failing to make a shot. After winning the fourth overtime jump ball, Minnesota proceeded to employ the same tactic, but the outcome remained the same. Purdue finally scored three points in the sixth OT, but Minnesota came back to win 59-56.

2. (tie) 2009, Syracuse/UConn, 6 OT

This game between Syracuse and UConn was played in a conference tournament, in contrast to the other games on this list. In actuality, it happened on the first day of the 2009 Big East Championship. It took six overtimes for Syracuse to finally secure a 127-117 victory.

After three hours and forty-six minutes, the game ended at 1:22 a.m. the next morning. Despite losing to the No. 18 Orangemen, the No. 3 Huskies were able to bounce back and make it to the Final Four with UConn.

1. Cincinnati/Bradley, 1981, 7 OT

Just before Christmas 1981, a 6-1 Cincinnati team defeated a 5-2 Bradley club led by future NBA coach Dick Versace in the longest-ever college basketball match. After playing 73 minutes apiece in the contest, Donald Reese of Bradley and Bobby Austin of Cincy shared the record.

After regular, the two teams were knotted at 61 points apiece, but because there was no shot clock in place, overtime play moved slowly. In the seventh overtime, Doug Schloemer, a reserve from Cincinnati, made a jump jumper with one second remaining to ultimately end the game. Bradley and Cincinnati might still be in the game if not.


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