Asked about it afterward, head coach Patton said the move was a disciplinary measure. (He didn't specify if that was the case for all three, but one source said it was at least for Roby and Silas).
Patton said he had found himself managing his team this season rather than coaching it. He said he and his assistants had turned a blind eye to players "showing attitude" too much this year, and Patton decided to end the habit.
"I decided I'm not going to reward poor attitude," Patton said.
Patton didn't say what constituted the poor attitude some of his players had displayed. Roby said he and his teammates found out about the starting lineup when they always do – when Patton wrote the five players' names on a board in the locker room.
"Guys are frustrated," Roby said. "It's been a long season."
Patton inserted Roby and Silas into the game at the 15:55 mark of the first half.
Whether or not the lesson Patton was trying to teach got through to his players was unclear.
"I don't think it really matters or not who's starting," said Silas. "I still played 28 minutes. But you still have to play with the same intensity (as a starter or off the bench)."
Colorado lacked intensity from the get go Wednesday. Kansas held CU to just 22 points in a first half that was Colorado's poorest half of basketball at Coors in a long, long time. By the 12 minute mark, CU players were already bickering, and the team had made four goofy turnovers and shot three air balls.
Remarkably, the Buffs were able to cut Kansas' lead to eight with just under three minutes to play in the first half. But turnovers led to quick Kansas baskets and they led 38-22 at the break.
While Colorado took care of the ball better in the second half, they were woeful when it came to shooting the ball. On the game, Colorado shot a season-low 27 percent. Silas was the only Buff in double figures, but he shot 3 of 13 to get to his team-high 11 points.
Kansas, meanwhile, shot 47.6 percent. Guard Russell Robinson led the Jayhawks (22-4/9-2) with 14 points, six assists and five steals.
Colorado fell to 6-15 on the season, 2-9 in Big 12 play. Just two games removed from knocking off a ranked team (Oklahoma State), it again feels like it will take a miracle for the Buffs to win another game, with five remaining.
Asked after the loss if it felt like his team wasn't playing with high intensity because they knew their coach was soon leaving, Patton responded: "It resembles that to me."
He went on to chide his players: "You play the game for the love of the game. In the long run, when you start quitting on yourself and your teammates, you suffer."
• The official attendance was 6,608, though CU officials said Monday they had sold all but 500 tickets to the game. The student section had a lot fewer fans in it than the past couple of years when CU played Kansas at Coors.
And it certainly appeared that there were more Kansas fans in the arena that Colorado fans. The loudest cheers of the evening came on two Sasha Kaun dunks in the second half, and then at the end of the game when the KU faithful stood and gave their team an ovation.
The Jawhawk fans also filled the Events Center with their "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chant with about 2 and a half minutes to go. A Kansas sportswriter said he hears that on the road some times, but never as loud as it was in Boulder Wednesday night.
Points: Xavier Silas 11
Rebounds: Marcus King-Stockton 8
Assists: Dominique Coleman 3
Turnovers: three with 3
Blocks: two with 1
Steals: three with 2
Points: Russell Robinson 14
Rebounds: Darnell Jackson 11
Assists: Robinson 6
Turnovers: Mario Chalmers 3
Blocks: Sasha Kaun 4
Steals: Robinson 5