Sunflower Showdown has Kansas flair


This year’s Sunflower Showdown inside Allen Fieldhouse featured four Kansas natives.

The star of the show was Jayhawk senior forward Perry Ellis, from Wichita, Kansas, who had 19 points and five rebounds.

Ellis went 3-3 from the 3-point line and had a big steal in the second half, giving the Jayhawks momentum and helping them capture the win.

“I was just trying to find the open spot in our offense and my teammates found me,” Ellis said after the game. “I just try to take good shots, and I’ll leave it at that. I’ve got a lot of 3’s from the pick and pop, and I’ve just been trying to execute on those.”

The Wildcats had three players who attended Kansas high schools. Senior guard Brian Rohleder, from Wichita, Kansas, played his final game inside Allen Fieldhouse, but he won’t want to remember it after committing three fouls in the three minutes he played.

Wildcat junior forward Austin Budke, from Beloit, Kansas, was a nice spark in the game for K-State. He contributed a basket and a free throw in his 13 minutes of playing time.

A unique matchup in the paint was Ellis and Wildcat freshman forward Dean Wade, from St. John, Kansas.

“We had never played each other before,” Ellis said. “That was my first time, but he is going to be a really good player.”

Wade had five points in the game but was in foul trouble most of the second half, preventing him from playing much.

This is something we will only get to see one more time when the Jayhawks travel to Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 20.

And for Ellis, he might be getting a graduation present from K-State head coach Bruce Weber come May.

“Ellis is special,” Weber said. “We’ve talked about going to his and Iowa State’s (senior forward) Georges Niang’s graduation because we will be happy when both of them are out of the league and we don’t have to face them anymore.”

K-State stayed close in the game but fell 59-77, putting the Wildcats at 13-9 overall and 2-7 in Big 12 play. At one point in the first half, K-State held a nine-point advantage and got within two points in the second half.

The Wildcats will look to put this loss behind them as they host No. 1 Oklahoma at 5 p.m. Saturday inside Bramlage Coliseum.