The only important fact one needs to know about the North Carolina-Fordham game at Madison Square Garden tonight is that North Carolina center Brad Daugherty had scored a career-high 33 points with 12 minutes left to play.
As expected, the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels disposed of Fordham, 92-68, for their 15th straight victory. And No. 5 Georgia Tech, with equal efficiency, did the same to Rutgers, 85-46, in the second game of this nonconference doubleheader played before 12,000.
The last time Daugherty played in the Garden he missed all five of his shots against St. John's and didn't score before fouling out. Tonight, he made 13 of 14 from the floor in just 26 minutes,and probably could have scored 50 if Coach Dean Smith hadn't mercifully removed him from the game after Daugherty had scored two three-point plays in less than a minute.
''If there's a better center in the country, I'd like to see him,'' Fordham Coach Tom Penders said. ''Dean was kind by not keeping Daugherty out there anyb longer.''
The undefeated Tar Heels got 12 points from Steve Hale, 11 from Kevin Madden, and six assists from freshman guard Jeff Lebo, who did the smart thing and got the ball to Daugherty whenever possible.
''You have to be impressed with the way they work the ball to him,'' Penders said. ''We could have used 10 timeouts and six players at times tonight.''
Fordham center James Robinson scored 16 points and had six rebounds to lead the Rams (6-7).
As unlikely as it may seem, Georgia Tech (13-1) had an even easier time with Rutgers (5-8). The Scarlet Knight led, 10-8, five minutes into the game. But Tech outscored Rutgers, 30-4, over the next 12 minute and let by 22 at halftime.
The Georgia Tech starters shot 69 percent, led by John Salley, who made seven of eight shots, and Mark Price, who made seven of 11. Each finished with 16 points.
''Craig (Littlepage, Rutgers coach) is in a rebuilding situation and I know what that feels like because I've been there at Georgia Tech,'' Coach Bobby Cremins said. ''I had no concept it would be this easy. We caught Fordham and Rutgers at a good time . . . .''
The Tar Heels (15-0) won their first 14 games by an average of 32 points, reached 100 points seven times and had a hard-to-digest 89-point victory over Manhattan. Georgia Tech doesn't have numbers quite that spectacular, but the fifth-ranked Yellow Jackets had won 11 straight coming into the Garden.
Considering all that, it was a little surprising that North Carolina shot only 48.5 percent the first half. Now, ask if it mattered.
Fordham (6-7) trailed by only four, 25-21, 13 minutes into the game. But North Carolina scored 16 straight points, eight by Daugherty, who had 23 in the first half.
G. Lonnie Jones scored a three-point play to bring the Rams within 21-19 with 11:08 to play.
But Dave Popson's hook made it 23-19, and a Fordham turnover led to another hook, this one by Daugherty. Penders called a timeout.
Missed shots and more turnovers led to four quick points by Daugherty, a steal-and-basket by Kevin Madden, a Daugherty jam, a Kenny Smith free throw, and a jumper by Steve Hale that made it 37-21.
''Must have been something I said during the timeout,'' Penders quipped.
*Alabama 83, Louisiana St. 67:
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., Alabama's Buck Johnson had 29 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Crimson Tide (9-3, 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference) to an upset of eight-ranked Louisiana State (14-1, 2-1).
Alabama controlled the tempoearly, but didn't build a sizable lead until 6:20 of the first half, when Johnson's nine-footer made it 27-18. Alabama built its lead to 17 points at 7:14 of the second half.
John Williams led LSU with 16 points.
*Memphis St. 73, Louisville 71: Center William Bedford scored 20 points to lead sixth-ranked Memphis State past No. 17 Louisville. The victory was the 30th in a row for the Tigers (14-0, 2-0 Metro Conference) on their home court. Louisville (8-4, 0-1) was led by Herbert Cook's 14 points.
*Ala.-Birmingham 72, VCU 70: Michael Charles, after missing two free throws at the end of regulation, hit both ends of a one-and-one in overtime to lift 14th-ranked UAB (15-2, 2-0 in Sun Belt). Virginia Commonweath is 2-8,0-2
*Purdue 88, Michigan State 83: In East Lansing, Mich., Todd Mitchell scored a career-high 27 points and Troy Lewis hit three long jumpers in the final five minutes to help No. 20 Purdue (14-2, 3-0 Big Ten) win despite a career-high 30 points by Darryl Johnson for Michigan State (10-3, 1-2).
*De Paul 70, Pepperdine 57: Point guard Ron Strickland led balanced scoring with 18 points for De Paul (9-3). The visiting Waves (12-3), paced by Grant Gondrezick's 17 points, came no closer than 13 points in the second half.
*Indiana 102, Northwestern 65: Ricky Calloway scored 20 points and Steve Alford 19 for Indiana (9-5, 1-2) the worst Big Ten homecourt defeat for Northwestern (6-6, 0-2) since a 93-56 loss to the Hoosiers in 1981.