WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (Ticker) -- Freshman Daniel Horton provided the youth and senior LaVell Blanchard the experience for Michigan.
Horton scored a season-high 31 points and Blanchard chipped in 20 as the Wolverines ended Purdue's 14-game home winning streak with a 78-67 Big Ten Conference victory.
Michigan (16-9, 9-3 Big Ten), which began the season with six losses, took a huge step toward claiming an unlikely regular-season conference title.
The Wolverines moved into first place, one game ahead of Purdue (16-7, 8-4) and Wisconsin, which lost at Penn State.
"This is a big win," Horton said. "We were both tied for the Big Ten lead coming in. We knew we needed to be aggressive and confident, and we did that tonight."
Horton scored 21 points in the first half as Michigan never trailed and led by as many as 13 points. He had 13 in the first eight minutes and ignited a fast start by the Wolverines.
A runner by Willie Deane pulled Purdue within 54-50 with nine minutes left, and Deane went to the line 38 seconds later with a chance to get his team closer. But he missed a pair of free throws and Blanchard responded with a 3-pointer.
Another 3-pointer by Blanchard triggered seven straight points that opened a 69-57 advantage. Freshman Lester Abram converted a pair from the line to cap the burst.
"LaVell really stepped up and he got hungry and determined out there," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "When he can get his feet set, he's as good as anyone at shooting the jump shot."
Michigan starts three freshmen and was not expected to contend after a self-imposed postseason ban this year. But the play of Horton and Blanchard has propelled the Wolverines to heights that were unfathomable after a loss at Duke dropped them to 0-6 on December 7.
"I'm not surprised because we have great players and a great team," Horton said. "We've put ourselves in a position to win the Big Ten."
Horton victimized Deane and Brandon McKnight for most of the night as Purdue never found a way to slow down the Texas product. Horton made only 8-of-22 shots but did an outstanding job of getting to the line, where he converted 12-of-13 attempts.
Blanchard scored 12 points in the second half and nailed 7-of-10 shots for the game, including four 3-pointers. Abram was impressive with 13 points and Blanchard and Bernard Robinson Jr. each grabbed seven rebounds as Michigan held a 32-25 edge on the glass.
"LaVell Blanchard gave us great effort by playing while he was hurt with a turned ankle," Amaker said. "This team played with guts and determination tonight, and that's why we won."
Deane scored 22 points to lead Purdue, which has not finished the season unbeaten at home since an 11-0 mark in the 1968-69 campaign.
Horton opened the game with a 3-pointer and made two free throws for a 7-2 advantage. He added a three-point play and a 3-pointer in a 9-2 tear that opened a 23-13 cushion 12:42 before halftime.
Kenneth Lowe sank a pair at the line to cap nine straight points from Purdue to cut its deficit to 30-26. Horton's four free throws triggered a 10-1 run that restored a 13-point lead, and Michigan held a 42-29 advantage at halftime.
Purdue shot just under 29 percent (6-of-21) in the first half and was never able to recover. The Boilermakers' woes were personified by a wide-open missed dunk by Darmetreis Kilgore with just under 13 minutes to play.
Lowe fouled out with 14 points and was the only other Boilermaker in double figures. McKnight scored eight points and enigmatic Chris Booker managed only six.