American University officials decided its regular home court, at Fort Myer, was too chilly so they have switched tonight's 8 p.m. annual scoring contest against George Washington to Georgetown's McDonough Arena.

Even had the two Northwest D.C. rivals decided to play at the Fort, it likely would be very warm on the floor.

The last three games have been high-scoring affairs (555 total points) and, although GW has placed much of its emphasis on defense this season, this game promises to be another shoot-and-chase match.

AU (10-5) is more comfortable running at full speed and trying to score 100 points. Riding a five-game winning streak, the Eagles are playing very well, offensively and defensively.

AU pounded Lehigh, 85-70, in its last game and is ranked 15th in the nation in field goal percentage with a 54 mark. Six-foot-five junior Mark Nickens, who has scored double figures in 36 consecutive games, is 16th in the nation in scoring, 21.3.

GW (9-6) already has surpassed its victory total of last season, eight. The Colonials still are the surprise team of the area, despite consecutive trouncings by Virginia, 80-54, and St. Bonaventure, 68-44. The Colonials have been successful when they have controlled the tempo and kept the score down.

Although he never would admit it, GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob might be peeping past this game because he faces Eastern Eight foes Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure later this week. GW is 4-1 in conference play and victories over those two would keep it in first place.

"This is a tough week for us," said Gimelstob, still steaming a bit over Saturday's loss at St. Bonaventure. "We didn't play very well at all. Wilbert Skipper injured a finger on his shooting hand and we don't know if he'll be able to play."

Without the 6-foot-3 Skipper, the team's best outside shooter and second-leading scorer (14.1 points), GW would have to depend on its inside game with 6-9 bookends Mike Brown (17.5, 9.7 rebounds) and Penny Elliott.

"Their height will be a problem. We don't match up real well against them underneath," AU Coach Gary Williams said. "But we're playing as well as we have all season. We've been very consistent. Gordon (Austin) and Juan (Jones) have come on offensively. Jones is also playing real good defense.