Sean Sellers scored 13 points with 10 rebounds to help the Cardinals (1-1) outrebound the Panthers 43-32. Francis Kiapway added 12 points, making 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, and Franko House scored 10.
Calhoun's dunk put Ball State up 25-24 in the first half amid a 13-4 run and the Cardinals led 36-32 at halftime after Calhoun's layup at the buzzer.
A.J. Riley pulled the Panthers (0-2) within 38-35 with a layup, but Ball State pulled away on an 11-5 run capped by a layup by Sellers. Kiapway, Jeremie Tyler and Naiel Smith each hit 3-pointers for a 60-46 Ball State lead and the Cardinals continued to pull away.
Riley led Eastern Illinois with 21 points and Trae Anderson added 20.