Duke looked sharp, crisp against Jacksonville to earn a 71-44 win in new head coach Jon Scheyer’s first game replacing Coach K.

The result of Jon Scheyer’s first game as Duke’s head coach looked very similar to a majority of those that were coached by his predecessor — a blowout victory over a lesser opponent. Simply put, the Blue Devils took care of business.

“It was great to get that first one under our belts,” Scheyer told reporters postgame about his debut, a 71-44 victory over Jacksonville. “You’re anxious, there are some nerves. You’ve put in so much work that you want to see it translate on the court. I was not going to be anywhere other than this moment right now.”

Scheyer certainly seized that moment with a team that already looked to be in midseason form despite being without its two highest-rated freshmen, Dereck Lively II (calf) and Dariq Whitehead (foot).

Duke assisted on 19 of its 27 made field goals in the game, the clearest mark of a team playing together. Their offensive execution was crisp and filled with the kind of off-ball movement and unselfish passing normally seen from veteran teams that have been playing together for a while. There wasn’t any overdribbling or isolation-heavy offense you typically see from younger, inexperienced teams that have the kind of individual talent Duke does.

“It starts with their attitudes from Day 1,” Scheyer said of his team’s unselfishness. “No one has been above anything. They push each other and it starts there. With Jacksonville, it’s hard to have a lot of points. The way we shared it, the way we attacked the little things, that’s key.”

The Blue Devils needed to execute at that level, too.

They were playing a Jacksonville team that is among the favorites in the ASUN this season because of its defense and rebounding. The Dolphins played at the third-slowest pace in the nation last season, per KenPom, and largely succeeded in keeping Duke’s superior athletes out of transition in the first half.

“The poise that we showed, knowing when to push and play tempo versus knowing when to work and get a good shot, that was big for us tonight,” Scheyer said.

That was by design, according to Jacksonville head coach Jordan Mincy, who wanted to make things as difficult as possible on the young Blue Devils.

“We knew that ball control was going to be important,” Mincy said. “They’re extremely dangerous in transition and we needed to limit mistakes.”

That gameplan worked for a little over 18 minutes. Jacksonville trailed just 25-22 after 14 minutes and was within eight points in the moments before the halftime break. But, without those top two freshmen, Duke was much more reliant on the few veterans it does have.

Jeremy Roach, the lone returning starter from last season’s Final Four team, responded with the best half of his career. He scored all 16 of his points in the opening stanza — including four 3-pointers — carrying the load until the floodgates broke open in the second half. Roach scored or assisted on every basket during a mini 8-0 Duke run to close the half, turning an eight-point game into a 16-point romp within the final 1:39 of the frame.

“Roach really set the tone for us,” Scheyer explained. “That’s what we need from him all year long. He’s been in those moments.”

Duke kept the Dolphins from making it a game from then on largely because of its dominance on the glass — another thing Duke’s new head man hopes will become a staple. The Blue Devils started two big men, with Northwestern transfer Ryan Young stepping in alongside Kyle Filipowski to replace Lively, in an effort to gain an edge there.

“I was concerned about how good they are defensively and how hard they play,” he explained. “To outrebound them 44-25 was big. Really proud of our effort on the glass.”

Most teams are going away from two-big lineups because of the lack of spacing it creates, yet Filipowski’s ability to stretch the floor makes it work on the offensive end. They got the best of both worlds tonight with that rebounding edge (Filipowski and Young combined for 19 boards) while maintaining offensive efficiency (115.7 AdjO rating, per Torvik).

Roach was the most impactful Blue Devil (he finished +32 in less than 32 minutes on the court) but four Blue Devils ended up scoring in double figures, led by freshman Mark Mitchell. He finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting while showcasing his athleticism along the way.

Duke returns to action on Friday, Nov. 11, and will play host to USC Upstate in its final tune up before facing Kansas in the Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 15. There’s a “great chance” Lively plays against the Spartans later this week, per Scheyer, while Whitehead will not.