Russell (Boo) Bowers scored a career-high 45 points tonight to lead American University to its first basketball victory this season, a 108-88 triumph over Harvard.

Bowers, who had scored a total of 30 points in losses to Rutgers and Maryland (his nine against the Terps was the first time in 54 games he had been held under 10) made 18 of 30 shots and nine of 12 free throws. He scored 23 points in the second half as the Eagles (1-2) pulled away from the previously unbeaten Crimson (3-1).

"We had a good talk this week after the Maryland game," said AU Coach Gary Williams. "I told him (Bowers) my biggest disappointment in our loss to the Terps was his performance. I didn't think he played as well as he could have. He had to forget everything except basketball for the 40 minutes he was out on the court."

AU led, 54-52, at halftime despite Harvard's 60 percent shooting. The Crimson moved ahead, 60-56, before the Eagles went on a 14-2 scoring spree to lead, 70-62, with 14 minutes to play. Bowers scored eight of those points and Ed Sloane four. Harvard trimmed the lead to four, but could not get closer.

The Eagles finished with lofty 60 percent shooting for the game, making 47 of 78 shots as five AU players finished in double figures. Sophomore guard Sloane finished with a career-high 20, while Mark Nickens had 15, Dennis Ross 13 and Robin Hoey 12.

Forward Joe Carrabino led Harvard with 26 points, 19 in the first half before got into foul trouble.