Senior forward Bo Calhoun for the Ball State Cardinals attempts to shoot a layup on Nov. 16 during a game against E. Illinois in Worthen Arena. DN PHOTO GRACE RAMEY
Bo Calhoun leads Ball State men's basketball in home-opening victory
Senior forward Bo Calhoun played like a man who wanted to snap the Ball State men's basketball team’s 18-game losing streak on Nov. 16.
The senior captain played 28 minutes off the bench in a home-opening 73-56 win against Eastern Illinois.
“Coach told me my role is to be a finisher, and not a play-maker,” Calhoun said. “I took a lot of shots today — I was just trying to be aggressive.”
@EKUHoops Classic Schedule
6 p.m. Nov 20. vs. Eastern Kentucky
4:30 p.m. Nov. 21 vs. Longwood
4:30 p.m. Nov. 22 vs. South Carolina State
Calhoun finished the game with 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks on 8-18 shooting. Eight of his rebounds were on the offensive side of the ball, which factored into his 18 field goal attempts.
James Whitford is in his third year as the Cardinals' head coach and has seen the development in Calhoun since the beginning.
“College is about developing yourself as a person,” Whitford said. “Very few times have I seen a person grow as much as [Calhoun has] grown — he’s what college is all about.”
Calhoun joked in the postgame press conference about how he thought he couldn’t miss a shot until he got to the podium and saw the stat sheet.
“I said ‘Yo, I can’t miss right now,'” Calhoun said. “Then I see these numbers and I was like, ‘Yo.’”
Calhoun was one of four Cardinals to finish in double digits in the victory. Teammates Sean Sellers, Francis Kiapway and Franko House were the other three Cardinals to score in double figures, but respectfully so, the night was Calhoun’s.
His double-double was the first one for Ball State since his performance on Feb. 4 of last season.
Calhoun was met with Sellers, who also added a double-double for good measure, finishing with 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
This marks the first time two players had double-doubles in one game since Feb. 23, 2013.
“We’re a lot better [as a team]. A lot better,” Whitford said. “I see it every day in practice.”
Kiapway finished the game with 12 points on 4-5 shooting. The sophomore guard shot 3-4 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“We went more with [Kiapway], who’s probably our best shooter at the two,” Whitford said. “It stretched them out, and it allowed us to go inside more.”
Ball State held Eastern Illinois to 32.7 percent from the field, although the game’s top two scorers were on the Panthers' side. AJ Riley and Trae Anderson finished with 21 and 20, respectively, but no other player had more than five.
The Cardinals' offensive rebounding frustrated Panthers head coach Jay Spoonhour to the point that he received a technical foul. The Cardinals won the battle of the boards 43-32.
“We’re a bigger and deeper team,” Calhoun said. “We should out-rebound every opponent going forward.”
Going forward, the 1-1 Ball State Cardinals will bring back junior forward Ryan Weber, who is coming off a two-game suspension and will play this weekend at the @EKUHoops Classic.
“[Weber] established himself this summer,” Whitford said. “He's a real impactful player for us.”
Ball State opens its tournament play with host Eastern Kentucky. They play Longwood on Nov. 21 and wrap things up with South Carolina State on Nov. 22.