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TIMING ISSUES - .3 Seconds or Less

.03 Tenths or Less

Michael Leavitt BlogIn a recent game, the ball went out of bounds with .2 seconds on the clock. I realized that I did not know the rule book well enough, and fantasized over the possibilities as the inbounder was set to put the ball into play. Yes, I was spared having my ignorance exposed as no shot attempt was made as the buzzer sounded. As I left the court, I was really looking forward to getting into the rules book and seeing what it had to say.


  • 5-2-5
  • 2 - SCORING
  • ARTICLE 5 - When play is resumed with a throw-in or free throw and three-tenths (.3) of a second or less remains on the clock, a player may not gain control of the ball and try for a field goal. In this situation only a tap could score.
  • NOTE: This rule does not apply if the clock does not display tenths of a second.


.3 seconds is the key in these end of quarters scenarios. With that ,3 or less, only a tap is allowed. A traditional shot is NOT allowed. It does not matter when the horn goes off.

To further clarify, there is a great set of case book plays....


  • 5.2.5 SITUATION A: The game clock shows three-tenths of a second or less in the third quarter when A2: (a) taps the ball; or (b) grabs A1's missed free throw or throw-in pass and quickly shoots. In both cases the ball leaves A2's hand(s) before the end-of-period signal and goes through A's basket.
  • RULING: Count the goal in (a), but not in (b).


  • 5.2.5 SITUATION B: With three-tenths of a second or less left in the first half, Team B has been charged with only four team fouls. A1 is at the free throw line for one free throw. A1's shot hits the rim and bounds off. A2 legally taps the ball toward the basket and is fouled by B3. The ball had left A2's hand and the foul occurred before the end-of-period signal. The tap is unsuccessful.
  • RULING: B3's foul is considered in the "act of tapping" and will result in two free throws for A2. The lane will be cleared and the period ends after A2's free throw attempts. (4-41-1, 4-41-5, 4-41-6, 4-41-7)


It is this final scenario that is going to crop up in potentially ruin one of my future games. I had better remember the details from this blog entry...

  • 5.2.5 SITUATION C: With three-tenths of a second or less left in a tied game, each team is in the bonus. Team A has a throw-in on the end line near their basket. A1 throws the ball to A5 on the near block who catches the ball and quickly shoots. A5 is fouled by B3 just prior to the end-of-period signal. The ball goes through A's basket.
  • RULING: Since A5 may not control the ball and attempt a try with three-tenths of a second or less, A5 cannot score a goal and is not considered in the act of shooting. However, B3's foul cannot be ignored and is considered a common foul. A5 is awarded a one-and-one bonus free-throw situation with the lane cleared. A5's free throw attempts will determine if the game is over or if an overtime period is necessary. (4-41-6)

I hope that all of your games have quarters ending with .4 or more on the game clock so that you don't have to deal with the controversy from being the only one in the gym who knows the rule.

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