American University outscored New Hampshire, 12-4, during a four-minute stretch late in the game to rally to a 75-71 victory tonight in the opening round of the 11th Kiwanis-Old Dominion Classic.

American (6-2) will meet Old Dominion Saturday at 9 p.m. in the tournament final. Old Dominion (6-3) routed Columbia, 92-58, behind 15 points and 14 rebounds by Ronnie McAdoo.

Russell (Boo) Bowers, the Eagles' 6-foot-5 senior forward, had 16 points but missed by one point typing the school scoring record held by Wil Jones, now coach at the University of the District of Columbia. Bowers has 1,981 points.

After New Hampshire took the lead, 60-58, with 5:47 left on a layup by Robin Dixon, AU scored seven straight points. Juan Jones tied the game at 60 with 5:27 to play on a short bank shot. Gordon Austin then stole the ball and fed Robin Hoey for a 12-foot jumper and a lead American never lost.

The eagles picked up another point on a free throw by Hoey and three points on a basket and foul shot by Ed Sloane.

Hoey finished as high scorer with 17 points.Bowers, who was averaging 28 a game, missed 10 of 16 shots and was only two of six in the first half.

Dixon had 20 points to lead New Hampshire. The smaller Eagles were outrebounded, 35-26, with no player haing more than five.

AU led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but New Hampshire had cut the margin to 34-29 by halftime.