For every upside to LSU's performance, there was an offsetting downside against Mississippi State. Collis Temple returned to action after a one-game layoff due to a torn foot tendon and played 26 minutes. But the junior guard who was the Tigers' second leading scorer entering the game totaled only two points against the Bulldogs on 1-of-6 shooting.
Torris Bright led the Tigers with 21 points but failed to record an assist. Brad Bridgewater finished with eight points but didn't pull down a single rebound. As a result, Mississippi State was able to win the rebound battle handily, 38-24.
LSU (12-7, 2-4 SEC) trailed Mississippi State by six points at halftime, 38-32, but the Bulldogs were able to string together key runs to take the air out of the Tigers' comeback hopes. LSU got to within four points, 40-36, on a Bridgewater slam with 18:29 to play, but Mississippi State responded with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes.
The Bulldogs (16-4, 3-3) stayed ahead by double digits until Bright made two free throws with 14:36 to play to make the score 49-40. But just when the Tigers appeared poised for a rally, they played the next four minutes without making a field goal. Mississippi State took advantage and increased its lead to 16.
The last ditch comeback point for LSU came with 4:49 to play after Temple scored his only points on a baseline layup to make the score 67-56. But the Bulldogs once again had an answer, going on an 11-2 run to put the game out of reach.
Mississippi State had four players score in double figures against LSU. Joining Harper were Michael Ignerski, Marckell Patterson and Mario Austin, who each finished with 12 points.
LSU shot 39 percent (22-of-56) for the game, including 10-of-30 shooting in the second half. The Tigers were also 10-of-30 on three-pointers with Bright accounting for five shots from behind the line. The Bulldogs bested the Tigers at the free throw line, making 11-of-24 chances compared to 7-of-10 for LSU.The Tigers are back in action Wednesday night at the Maravich Assembly Center against Tennessee. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.