American University scored the first seven points of the second overtime and held on to defeat Stetson, 98-94, in the first round of the ninth annual Tangerine Bowl basketball tournatment.

American will face Central Florida, a 108-91 victor over VMI, in the tourney final.

Boo Bowers and Stan Lamb keyed the Eagles attack throughout the contest. They scored all but two of American's first-half field goals and each added crucial points in overtime.

American (7-3) controllled the game for long periods during regulation, jumping to a 30-19 lead in the first half and a 69-56 margin with 12:07 to play.

Stetson, now 4-6, took its first lead of the game at 83-81 on two Brad Weston free throws with 30 seeonds left in regulation. Stan Lamb (31 points) knotted the score with a field goal before Ray Voelkel missed what would have been a winning free throw with no time on the clock.

Bowers (career-high 35 points) sent the game into the second additional period with a turnaround jumper with 20 seconds remaining for an 89-89 deadlock.

Bowers had a pair of field goals in the Eagles' seven-point streak to open the last overtime period. The Hatters came back to a 96-94 deficit but American's Chris Dye closed shop with two free throws for the final margin.

The victory was the seventh consecutive for American, tying the school record.