For six years a normal Tuesday night for Ruben Spoden usually composed of practicing with his BBL teams Walter Tigers Tuebingen where he played from 2010-2013 playing 56 games and 88 games with S.Oliver Wurzburg from 2013-2016 battling against big men like Kenny Wiliams, Anatoly Kashirov,or Kenny Frease on a daily basis, but on this Tuesday night, the 28 year old 202cm forward who grew up near Frankfurt playing with the MTV Kronberg Youth and Eintracht Frankfurt (Regionalliga) and watching German basketball legend Pascal Roller bring the Frankfurt Skyliners their first BBL league title in 2004 was very far away from any real BBL atmosphere. Instead the German who last season played with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau (ProA) averaging 4.5ppg, 2.8rpg was in a small school gym in Limburg battling against young German kids for his new team TV Langen in the Regionaliga. He had suffered a severe injury last season and had decided to take a step back from the rigors of the BBL and put his family and medical studies in the forefront. This season the German has helped lead TV Langen to a solid 4-1 record and helped the team win their fourth game in a row against Kaiserslautern 70-51 as he steered eight points, 11 boards and four assists to the victory. On Halloween night Spoeden and TV Langen faced the weak 1-4 Limburg side who have a very thin roster and are carried by American ex Pro B player Brandon Shingles and Lithuanian Julius Zurna. EVL Limburg could have used some extra witches and demons on this cool Halloween night to scare the TV Langen team, but a Ruben Spoden doesn´t get terrified quickly especially on the court. TV Langen controlled the game for a good 36 minutes in Limburg and survived a late fourth quarter Limburg run going home with a well deserved 87-81 victory. After the game a relaxed and satisfied Ruben Spoden reflected on the game and his new basketball adventure in the Regionaliga. “We had a good night where we got going early. Their zone brought us out of rhythm, but we were still able to control the game. Zurna and Stallbohm hit us hard with their shooting and we couldn´t find good solutions on defense, but in the end we came out with the win. I played in the Regionaliga early in my career with Eintracht Frankfurt so I had an idea what the gyms would be like. I could come out and try to score 30 points every night, but I have nothing to prove and nobody would profit from it. I just try to help the young guys with my experience and be a reliable player in tough times during a game”, stressed ex Tuebingen forward Ruben Spoden. After the game Top Limburg import American Brandon Shingles had it written all over his face as every one else in the gym knew that Limburg had let the game slip away at the end. “We had the odds against us and played catch up the whole game. They did a good job doubling our best players and not the other players at the end. Kudus to them”, added ex Leipzig point guard Brandon Shingles.
TV Langen jumped all over EVL Limburg taking the 7-2 lead as they got production from ex BBL player Rueben Spoden making a lay in and free throws and 23 year old German Leander Sielaff made a hard two handed dunk in transition. However EVL Limburg slowly got a rhythm on offense as high energy 31 year old Lithuanian Julius Zurna who has had Regionalliga experience with Schwenningen, Aschersleben and Bernau used his aggressive drive getting some buckets while Brandon Shingles nailed his first field goal with a trey giving EVL Limburg the 13-12 advantage. Both teams would trade run after run in the game and it started in the first quarter as Maxim Schneider who played 94 Pro B games with TV Langen drilled home a trey and rookie Nick Smith who learned his shooting at Belmont(NCAA) connected from the corner extending the TV Langen lead to 22-17. The runs continued to go back and forth like the Larry Bird-Dominique Wilkins playoff battle in 1988 as EVL Limburg closed out the first quarter with a 8-2 run. They got big production from their big men Waldemar Gomer and 29 year old Finish Aron Thorell-Walker who last played at Trelleborg Basket Pirates (Superettan) scoring inside. After 10 minutes EVL Limburg had the slim 25-23 lead.
In the second quarter Nick Smith really got going scoring three buckets inside as he kept his three pointer on the back burner. Timothy Chabot who has been with TV Langen since his youth nailed a trey giving TV Langen the 33-30 lead. TV Langen had stepped up their defense and EVL Limburg were struggling with Shingles who was on the bench for a few minutes. TV Langen continued to be the more aggressive team going on a 10-3 run to take the commanding 43-32 lead. TV Langen had a deeper bench and got production form many players. Up now was 21 year old 180cm guard Tyrone Mclaughlin who played with Eintracht Frankfurt some years ago got active on both ends of the court making a steal and going coast to coast for the lay in and dropped a trey. EX Fraport Skyliner Junior Lukas Beuschlein also got active on the defensive end making two steals and finishing on transition for easy baskets. TV Langen took advantage of the sloppy EVL Limburg game and let their defense take their game to another dimension as they got easy buckets on transition which in turn sparked their offense. Five year man Norman Klima scored in the paint and Shingles made a free throw cutting the TV Langen lead to 43-36 at half-time.
In the third quarter TV Langen continued to control the game leading in double figures, but were never totally able to run away with the game as they allowed EVL Limburg to hang around. Julius Zurna started off the third quarter showing his precise shooting nailing a trey from the corner cutting the TV Langen lead to 43-39. However TV Langen jumped all over EVL Limburg again going on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 52-41. In the run, Nick Smith showed his versatile offensive game never hesitating for a second to shoot from outside when he was open nailing a three and scoring inside. Schneider also connected on a step back jumper from the right corner and Spoden made a lay in following a technical against Brandon Shingles. TV Langen would keep their lead up thanks to the consistent shooting of Smith and Schneider who continued to shoot at a high volume while Zurna kept firing away and keeping EVL Limburg in the game trailing only 59-47. A lightening 5-0 Limburg run powered by a Stallbohm lay in and Shingles trey brought EVL Limburg back to 59-52, but a Schneider to Smith alley-oop tap in and Schneider three kept EVL Limburg at bay as TV Langen led 66-54. Zurna gave the home team fans something to cheer about as he nailed home a buzzer beater trey to end the third quarter trailing TV Langen only 66-57. “Our goal is always to play extra hard in the first five minutes as that is the time teams tend to give up. We wanted to have a higher lead, but that didn´t happen, but we still controlled the game”, stressed Ruben Spoden. “We kept the pressure on and sped up the game as much as possible. They also sped up the game and forced us to turnovers. We couldn´t adjust and had miscommunication on defense”, added Brandon Shingles.
In the fourth quarter, EVL Limburg continued to feel that they had a chance and quickly took control of the game and stole the momentum from the guests as they opened up the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run as suddenly they trailed only 69-66. In the run, EVL Limburg shot the ball well and were just a bit more clever in crucial plays as Shingles showed sneaking inside grabbing an offensive rebound and scoring and getting Spoden with an up fake. Stallbohm also hit a trey and Thorell-Walker scored in the paint. TV Langen didn´t let EVL Limburg pass them yet as they kept the lead thanks to buckets inside by Schneider and Smith keeping the lead at 76-71. EVL Limburg had one last gasp and totally shocked the guests going on a 8-0 run to regain the lead 79-76. The run was started by Zurna who hit a pull up jumper and then it was the Shingles show as he scored three consecutive times in the lane including a pretty spin move on transition. “I try to be a team player first and involve everyone else and not be too selfish. In that phase I just knew that I had to make those shots”, stressed Brandon Shingles. The game was dominated by runs and unfortunately for EVL Limburg, TV Langen had the last run of the game which secured them the win. They closed out the game with a 11-2 run. In the run, TV Langen got important production from Smith who scored twice, Spoden who hit four free throws and from German 29 year old Chris Reinhardt who scored inside. TV Langen played smart defensively keying in on Limburg´s top players and forced guys to take shots that normally wouldn´t in crunch-time. They also benefited from Limburg´s poor free throw percentage helping them out. “We have a lot of potential and when we can run and get the ball inside then we can be really good. They missed many shots and we found better answers on defense and got the needed rebounds”, added Ruben Spoden. “They got the ball to the right players at the end and we missed shots. Smith hit big three´s. That is what guys from Belmont do”, stressed Brandon Shingles. “We should have won by more. We gave up too many points. Our inside game was missing and we dominated with our three point shooting. We led the whole game and deserved to win”, stressed TV Langen manager Jogi Barth. TV Langen was led by Nick Smith with 28 points. Ruben Spoden added 18 points and Maxim Schneider had 17 points. EVL Limburg were led by Julius zurna with 34 points and Brandon Shingles had 24 points. TV Langen shot 48% from the field and 32% from outside while EVL Limburg shot 44% from the field and 25% from outside. EVL Limburg won the rebound duel 35-32 and had nine turnovers while TV Langen coughed up the ball 12 times.