A one-man wrecking crew from Bowling Green knocked out Mark Twain during the third quarter of an Eastern Missouri Conference battle Thursday in Center.

A one-man wrecking crew from Bowling Green knocked out Mark Twain during the third quarter of an Eastern Missouri Conference battle Thursday in Center.

Ryan Talkington, a senior 6-foot-6 forward, came through in the clutch with three conventional 3-point plays to spark 12 straight points for the Bobcats, who took control of the lead and never surrendered it back.

“(Talkington) is a load,” Mark Twain coach Wade Proffitt said. “I wish we could’ve got an answer for him a little bit sooner. He did a great job of finishing at the rim.”

Bowling Green (7-11, 4-1 EMO) hung on to defeat Mark Twain (8-10, 2-2) by a final score of 59-51.

Tigers junior Devin Neff rattled home a 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the third to knot the score at 29, but Bowling Green lit up on offense and took a 41-29 lead into to the final period.

That’s exactly when the Mark Twain comeback machine turned on and gave Bowling Green a run for its money.

Mark Twain seniors Brad Tonkinson and Bailey McMillen did all they could in the fourth to will the Tigers to victory. Tonkinson scored 11 of his 21 points in the final period, while McMillen sunk all four of his free throw attempts.

Meanwhile, Mark Twain switched to a trap defense that limited Talkington to only one field goal in the fourth.

“We tried to go with a little bit of a trap to try to speed him up a little bit,” Proffitt said. “It seemed to work there at the end. We got some things that we wanted. We got some errant passes down there, but we just couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers.”

Tonkinson collected a rebound off his own miss and laid in a bucket to slim the Bobcats’ advantage to 55-11 with 51 seconds remaining, offering the home team a glimmer of hope.

The Tigers, though, didn’t score again.

Bowling Green kept Mark Twain clamped down with air-tight defense the rest of the contest, and Bobcats junior Noah Pafford made four free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the contest.

“We had about three or four opportunities there when it was a one or two possession game to close the gap,” Proffitt said. “Battling back after being down double digits at the start of the fourth quarter, it was tremendous effort from our guys.”

McMillen finished with 14 points for Mark Twain, while Neff scored seven and Grant Peters had four. Preston Eckler netted three points, and Kaden Elliott had two.

Talkington finished with 17 points to pace Bowling Green, while Pafford joined him in double figures with 11.

Mark Twain faces Van-Far at 7 p.m. on Friday.

“We go back at it again tomorrow against Van-Far,” Proffitt said. “It’s tough having three games in a week. But really, look at the mistakes, correct the mistakes and get out there and try again.”