A held ball occurs when two opponents have one or both hands firmly on the ball. This typically occurs when players are trying to secure a rebound or a loose ball. This may also be known as a jump ball because after the held ball is called, the referee will setup a jump ball. The two primary players involved in the held ball will have to compete in a jump ball in order to gain possession of the ball.
A referee will call a held ball when both players have hands on the ball and neither can gain sole possession without "undue roughness". If a player is on the floor while in possession of the ball, he is allowed an opportunity to throw the ball, but a held ball should be called if there is danger of injury. Typically, at least one player will have two hands on the ball while the opposition tries to steal it away with one or both hands. In college basketball, a held ball results in a change of possession, which alternates throughout the game.