American University will play its home opener at Fort Meyer against Lafayette, unbeaten Howard hosts last year's NIT quarterfinalist Alcorn State, St. Joseph's (Pa.) visits Catholic, and Lincoln goes against the University of the District of Columbia in area men's college basketball games tonight.

The UDC game at McKinley High starts at 8:15 p.m., the other three begin at 8 p.m.

American foward Boo Bowers scored 32 points as the Eagles dropped to 2-2 with a 93-80 loss to James Madison Saturday night in the championship game of the James Madison tournament. Bowers is averaging 26.5 points per game.

American freshman Ray McCarthy made eight-and 10-point contributions to the Eagle effort as a substitute over the weekend. AU forward Leon Kearny will miss the Lafayette game with an ankle sprained in the tournament's opening game against Towson State.

Lafayette, which has defeated Marist and East Stroudsburg, is led by senoir guard Bob Falconiero, who averaged 13 points per game last season.

Howard improved to 3-0 Saturday night with an 81-70 triumph over Jackson State on a 25-point effort by James Ratiff. Ratiff, former Eastern High School star, transferred to Howard from Tennessee. Larry Spriggs, playing his first game since a preseason ankle injury, scored 18 points.

Alcorn, the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion last year and finished a great season (28-1) with a quarterfinal loss to eventual winner Indiana in the National Invitation Tournament.

Catholic registered its first win Saturday night with a 57-54 decision over St. Francis (Pa.). Catholic's zone defense held St. Francis to one field goal in the final 9 1/2 minutes.

The University of the District of Columbia also won its first game this season over Siena Heights as Hawkeye Daniels, a freshman out of Cardozo High, scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half.