Mario Austin, held scoreless in the first half, came back in the second half to score 12 points.
Harper's 16 points led the Bulldogs. Other Bulldogs in double figures included Austin, Marckell Patterson and Michael Ignerski, all of whom scored 12 points each.
LSU was led in scoring by Torris Bright with 21 points. The only other LSU player in double figures was Ronald Dupree with 18 points.
Mississippi State now travels to Auburn Wednesday night to take on the Tigers. Gametime is set for 7 p.m. The game will be televised by Jefferson Pilot TV.
RICK STANSBURY QUOTES:
"I'm very proud of our team not just because of the victory, but the way we got the victory. I thought we had great team togetherness. We were basically without Mario (Austin) the entire first half. We had some men come off the bench that really put us in position at halftime to win the basketball game. I thought that Marcus Campbell and Lincoln Smith gave us tremendous minutes. And all night long (Ontario) Harper played well. We knew Harper was capable of that. He picked a good night to break out. We did this against a very good LSU basketball team."
Lack of pre-season expectations for MSU:
"I think people forget that all of a sudden. People now talk about the expectations we have and what we should be able to do. If you will look back, a lot of those people picked us to be fifth or sixth in the league. We don't worry about them, because we can't control them. The only things we worry about are things that we are in control of. We aren't going to waste our time and energy worrying about those things. Our basketball team has put itself in a very good position at 16 and 4.
"Here is the thing, we lost six seniors off last year's team. We have a lot of young men that are starting for us that were on the bench last year. We are a very young basketball team. I know that winning creates expectations, but that is fine. I'm not concerned about that. But, at the same time, let's remember that same team that was picked last is still a young team and is getting better."
Talk about the defensive play on Ronald Dupree.
"I thought that (Michael Ignerski) and Michael Gholar did a great job. I thought, as a team, we did a great job defensively. LSU runs a good motion offense, because they spread you out and Dupree is a bad matchup for a lot of teams. I really thought out kids took the gameplan and executed it. We didn't give up a lot of easy baskets in that motion offense. They came in averaging 48% shooting and we held them to 39% tonight."
Talk about the first five minutes of the second half and how it seemed to change the tempo of the game.
"Basically it changed because we got Mario (Austin) back on the floor. I haven't seen the shots chart yet, but I think that everytime Mario Austin touched the ball early in the second half he was productive with it by either scoring or getting fouled."
Talk about Ontario Harper's play tonight.
"What he did tonight doesn't surprise me at all. He is very capable of that. The only problem Harper has right now is that he is playing behind two seniors (Patterson and Gholar). Marckell and Michael have paid their dues and are playing well for us. And remember he is just a freshman. He is going to be a very, very good one for us."
You mentioned that you weren't happy with the effort of the team against Alabama. Were you happy with the effort today?
"There is no question. Against Alabama, it wasn't lack of effort. We just didn't defend and rebound against Alabama like we needed to to win on the road."
Does it help the team's confidence to win going away?
"I know it helps the coach (laugh). Anytime you can win against a very good basketball team, a team that was playing very well. We really felt like we controlled the game from the start. Anytime you can do that against a quality basketball team it can only help your confidence."
Talk about Michael Ignerski's play.
"I thought that Iggy did a very good job defensively. As I mentioned earlier, he started against Dupree. I thought we keep Dupree at bay, especially the first half. I think he had two points in the first half."
Talk about the crowd.
"That was a tremendous crowd, especially the students. Make sure you print something about them."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.