Braden Erksa, who led Maryland’s offense in the second half, surveyed the field during the first possession of overtime and found an open Daniel Maltz in front of the cage.

Maltz had been held scoreless since recording a first-half hat trick, but caught Erksa’s dish and immediately fired a rocket into the back of the net. The Terps, who trailed for a majority of the game, avoided a colossal upset.

No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse surged back thanks to a five-goal second half from Erksa and an eventual game-winner from Maltz. The Terps (5-1) overcame uninspiring efforts from both their offense and defense against the winless Bears (0-5) to secure a 14-13 overtime victory in College Park Saturday.

Erksa starred for Maryland’s offense in the second half after Maltz and Jack Koras led the unit in the first half. Maltz and Koras accounted for five of the Terps’ six first-half goals but went scoreless until the former’s golden goal after the break. Erksa’s outburst fueled a needed Maryland comeback after early defensive woes.

“When we needed these guys early, they came through,” coach John Tillman said. “And obviously Braden down the stretch did a good job.”

Tillman felt Maryland’s defensive execution was lackluster against No. 4 Notre Dame with its breakdowns and lack of communication. Facing a bottom-10 scoring offense in the nation, the Terps’ defense didn’t rebound in the first half.

[Maryland men’s lacrosse’s stars struggled in its first loss of the season]

Maryland’s lack of switching on a pick behind the cage momentarily held up long-stick midfielder Nick Alviti, resulting in a clean look for Jack Kelly at the 6:20 mark of the first quarter.

“I just felt like we were a little late on some of our slides,” Tillman said.

Kelly’s score continued the Bears’ hot offensive start, with a lot of their first-half scores coming from wins in individual matchups. Wells Bligh, Marcus Wertheim and Spencer Hughes each scored in the first half by beating their defenders.

Matteo Corsi scored three second-quarter goals to give Brown an 8-6 lead at halftime.

Logan McNaney — who endured his worst outing of the year last week — struggled again against the Bears in the first half. The Terps’ defense didn’t provide much help, and McNaney saved just five of Brown’s 13 shots on goal over the first two quarters.

McNaney allowed five goals in the second half and conceded the second most scores over the course of a game this season, but his slight improvement after the break kept Maryland within striking range of Brown.

The Terps’ offense struggled offensively over the first 30 minutes beyond Maltz and Koras — the sloppiness that Tillman felt his offense played with last week against the Irish remained, as Maryland couldn’t fulfill the coach’s wishes of more efficiency and a better shot selection.

Five offensive turnovers before halftime led directly to a pair of Brown goals, and the Terps converted just 30 percent of their shots in the first half.

[No. 6 Notre Dame hands No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse first loss of 2024, 14-9]

Maryland also struggled early at the X without all-American faceoff specialist Luke Wierman, who didn’t play Saturday despite dressing in uniform for the game. Tillman said Wierman got “nicked up” last week.

The program faceoff wins record holder remained the sidelines for all four quarters, while freshman Sean Creter and junior Shea Keethler split the work at the X.

Creter, a five-star recruit, struggled mightily in the first extended action of his collegiate career. Creter won just one of 10 faceoffs. Keethler fared better, winning 60 percent of his faceoffs, including four straight to end the game, but the unit wasn’t at the same level that Wierman has been this season — the Terps finished Saturday 13-for-30 at the faceoff X.

Maryland’s offense was more clinical in the third quarter — it converted on half of its looks in the frame. Erksa scored twice and Ryan Siracusa netted his sixth goal of the season to trim the deficit down to one entering the fourth quarter.

“We just got the ball moving, got it around, had longer possessions and sort of just rode on momentum,” Siracusa said.

But the continued turnovers — five in the period — held the unit back from taking a lead.

Erksa powered the Terps’ offense during a 5-0 run that gave them their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter. The sophomore finished Saturday with five goals and three assists — his last feed secured the win.

Erksa boosted Maryland to a much-needed win despite an uninspiring performance against an unranked opponent. The Terps will take on a tougher challenge at home next week against No. 5 Virginia.