Eric Spanos surveyed the Ohio State defense 15 yards away from the cage while waiting for a Jack Koras screen.

Koras’ pick opened up space for Spanos, who drove toward the goal. He leaped and fired an off-balance rocket into the back of the net, putting the Terps in front with about five minutes left. The midfielder added another score less than a minute later to give his team a crucial two-goal advantage late in a low-scoring affair.

Spanos’ four goals carried No. 6 Maryland men’s lacrosse’s lackluster offense on Saturday, leading the unit in the absence of Daniel Maltz. The Terps squeaked past the Buckeyes at SECU Stadium, 8-7.

Maltz, who had scored in all nine of the Terps’ games this season, missed the contest due to an injury. Maryland (7-3, 2-1 Big Ten) struggled without him — of the five players who scored, only three were either a midfielder or an attacker. The Terps shot a season worst 22.8 percent and committed a season high 19 turnovers.

Maryland’s defense allowed the Terps to prevail. Ohio State (6-6, 1-2 Big Ten) registered a season-low 23 shots, connecting at just a 30 percent clip. Only four Buckeyes scored.

“We just focused on … win some matchups, trust each other but also being ready to slide and support each other when we need to,” defender Ajax Zappitello said. “The biggest thing was just giving Logan McNaney shots he wanted to see.”

Maryland’s defense got off to a sluggish start last weekend against No. 8 Penn State, allowing six goals in the first quarter. The unit started and remained strong against Ohio State.

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The Buckeyes turned the ball over four times and registered only six shots in the first period, scoring twice via Ari Allen and Jack McKenna.

The Terps remained robust defensively in the second quarter, leading to six more Ohio State turnovers and only one more goal — an Ed Shean man-up score less than three minutes into the frame. The Buckeyes were held scoreless for the final 12:20 of the first half.

Ohio State’s scoring drought extended well into the third quarter. McKenna’s second goal of the game with just 30 seconds left in the period snapped a dry spell that lasted nearly 27 minutes.

The Buckeyes’ late offense gave them an opportunity for the win. A pair of goals from McKenna and Blake Eiland tied the score midway through the final period. Another Eiland finish brought their deficit to one with 1:37 left.

But Ohio State’s overall offensive ineptitude proved too much to overcome.

McNaney defended the cage well Saturday, saving 58.8 percent of Ohio State’s 17 shots throughout the game — an encouraging performance after five straight outings with a save percentage of less than 50.

“I think he’s starting to get back to form,” coach John Tillman said.

Tillman said once Maryland’s offense settled in against Penn State — playing with more patience and poise — the execution improved. The unit had another lackluster start on Saturday, connecting on just two of its 11 shots in the first period.

The two-goal first quarter marked the fourth-straight game the Terps scored two of fewer goals in the opening 15 minutes.

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Eric Malever and Ryan Siracusa combined to strike first for Maryland. Malever spotted Siracusa open near the side of the cage, and the latter fired a shot past goalkeeper Caleb Fyock. Spanos’ rocket toward the top of the net evened the game at two entering the second period.

Spanos scored a second goal in the third quarter for his fifth multi-goal outing of the campaign before adding his third and fourth of the day late in the fourth quarter to restore the Terps’ lead.

Ohio State’s defense, the eighth-best unit among all Division I schools by goals allowed per game, wreaked havoc in the second quarter. Maryland’s lone goal was a Braden Erksa bouncer between a pair of defenders.

The Terps’ offense was finally sparked in the second half by a pair of long-stick midfielders. Jack McDonald and Nick Alviti both struck in transition in the third quarter for long-pole goals that extended Maryland’s lead to two entering the final frame.

Spanos’ two fourth-quarter goals helped the Terps avoid a collapse after the Buckeyes pulled level in the final frame. Tillman’s squad won despite scoring less than 10 goals for the second time this season.

“I felt like at times we were out of sync,” Tillman said. “We weren’t all on the same page as much as we tried.”

The victory created Maryland’s first winning streak since it won four straight in February, a positive sign after a disappointing March. The Terps will look to pick up another victory when they host Rutgers next weekend — their first stretch of back-to-back unranked games this season.