The Catholic University and George Washington University basketball teams, impressive winners Saturday, tangle tonight at 8 at GW's Smith Center.

The Cardinals, 3-6, who stopped a three-game losing streak with a 71-68 victory over Boston University, have not beaten GW since the 1971-72 season. A year ago, Catholic opened with a semi-stall but lost to the Colonials at home, 85-47.

GW played "the best we've played all year" according to coach Bob Tallent in downing Eastern Collegiate Basketball League foe Pittsburgh, 94-79. The Colonials, 5-4, have won two in a row and after tonight's game go on the road against Penn State and Duquesne before hosting Rutgers on Jan. 20.

Catholic coach Jack Kvancz termed Saturday's victory a "great win" but wasn't altogether pleased. What disturbed him - and has throughout the season - has been the Cardinals' inconsistency.

"We haven't been able to put together 40 minutes," said Kvancz. "We're striving to put two halves together.

"We're going to have to play the best we've played yet and for the full 40 minutes," said Kvancz, referring to tonight's game. "I think we've proven to our opponents that we're capable of playing pretty good basketball."

Glenn Kolonics, a senior, leads Catholic scoring with a 19.3 average. The junior college transfers, Pete Gruzinskas and Stan Cooper, both 6-foot-5 forwards, have added scoring punch and rebounding strength to the Cardinal lineup.

At GW, Tallent wants things to keep rolling along. "I'm pretty happy," he admitted. "We've just gotta keep it going. We need a streak to help build our confidence.

"Catholic has improved over last year," continued Tallent, who added that Catholic was injury-ridden when the two teams met last year. "We've got to get fired up and ready to play."

The Colonials are led by guard John Holloran and forward Les Anderson. Holloran had 30 and Anderson 14 points against Pitt.

GW has two freshman starting in Tom Glenn, a 6-7 forward, and Bucky Roman, a 6-4 guard from Lee High School. Both they and freshman Mike Zagardo, a 6-10 reserve center, have impressed Tallent.

Roman pulled a muscle during yesterday's practice but Tallent expects him to play tonight.

In other games tonight, Coppin State goes against Southeastern at Anacostia at 8 and William and Mary is at Virginia, starting at 7:30.