Calhoun was 5 of 8 from the floor and made all six of his free throws. Franko House scored 18 points on 6-of 11 shooting, and Ryan Weber chipped in 10 points for Ball State (3-2).
Eric Eaves and Gabe McCray scored 11 points apiece to lead South Carolina State (2-3).
It was tied at 19 in the first half before Sean Sellers made consecutive 3-pointers to spark a 14-8 surge and give the Cardinals a 33-27 halftime lead.
A 10-0 run pulled the Bulldogs to 52-51 with 4:34 to play. Calhoun answered with a jumper, and the Cardinals closed on a 20-9 run. Calhoun scored eight points during the stretch.