In the first game of the 2010 College Basketball Invitational championship series, the Saint Louis Billikens fell at Virginia Commonwealth 68-56 Monday night in Richmond, Va. Game two of the series is Wednesday at Chaifetz Arena. If the Billikens win that game, a deciding game three would take place in St. Louis on Friday night.

In this opening game, SLU jumped out to a quick lead. Cody Ellis scored two of SLU’s first three baskets. VCU’s Larry Sanders scored the first four baskets for the Rams to keep VCU close. Kyle Cassity drained a 3-pointer, and Cory Remekun sank a jumper in the lane for a 13-12 SLU lead, but VCU hit three straight three pointers to go ahead.

VCU also outscored the Billikens 13-4 to close the first half to take a 36-25 lead at intermission.

Willie Reed, who led the Bills with 11 points sparked SLU in the second half with two straight scores. Ellis scored in transition to cut the gap to 36-31. After a basket by VCU, Kwamain Mitchell hit a three as SLU closed to 38-34 with just over 17 minutes to play. However, moments later, Joey Rodriguez took over for the Rams by scoring their next 14 points, including three 3-pointers, as VCU extended the margin to 55-42 eight minutes into the half and never looked back.

The Billikens saw their three-game winning streak in the CBI end and are now 23-12.